Brash words from Pelé! Who’d have thought it, eh?
I’m going to dispel some myths over the Brazilian legend. He is not the best player ever, not even the best Brazilian ever.
From what I have seen of the grainy footage, no different to the equally questionable Apollo 11 moon landing, he was quality. His dynamism, power, pace and ability to find the net an extraordinary 1,200 times (more like 757, if that) has him highly regarded as the greatest player ever.
I am not doubting that he was a special player, but my word, find a video of the defending in that era. It’s like watching eleven Richard Duffy’s try and take the ball off him. Hopeless.
“How can you compare? To compare with Pele, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right, and scores headers.” – Pelé, referring to himself in third person. Embarrassing.
Is everyone, Pelé included, suffering from a bit of ‘Golden Age’ syndrome? “My generation is better than yours, I’m miles ahead of this Messi punk” sort of ideology. What he said in that interview was blasphemy in my eyes. God. Damn. Blasphemy.
Pelé must’ve been on one of his ‘worldwide’ tours when Lionel Messi looped a header over Edwin Van der Sar in the 2009 Champions League Final. He must have also missed the other twenty-three headers Messi scored, not to mention the seventy-eight goals with his right foot (taken from FourFourTwo in March 2018).
So who’s better than Pelé? Maradona? Cruyff? How about we start with Olivier Giroud. In Pelé’s OFFICIAL and DOCUMENTED top-flight games, he had a 0.4 goals to game ratio, similar to the former PE teacher, Giroud. Plus, Pelé didn’t even attempt a scorpion kick, never mind pull it off against Crystal Palace. Fraud.
I understand the World Cup argument. Pelé won three, but he didn’t exactly lead from the front. He barely played in the 1962 World Cup win and Jairzinho consistently outscored him in the big games. You also have to remember that Messi has had to play with Marcos Rojo. A far-cry from Djalma and Nílton Santos (not related).
What I found actually rather disgraceful is Pelé’s lack of acknowledgement for his World Cup-winning teammates. His list of the 125 greatest living footballers had no Jairzinho, one of four players to ever score in every single game of the World Cup, and no Gérson, who is often referred to as Pelé’s Xavi.
Do you know why? Because it’s all about Pelé. He wants people to think he is the greatest. That’s why there is no Gérson in his list and why he constantly berates Messi. He knows he is no longer the best.
He should’ve realised that when Ronaldo Nazário had the same amount of goals (12) with one World Cup still in his locker. Pelé was no longer the best ever player, not even the best Brazilian. He can’t handle it.
Pelé was a legend, an innovator of the game we see today, but these comments have tarnished his reputation. Just let it go, lad.