The world has started hailing Messi as the greatest footballer, but this only shows the ignorance of commentators. Undoubtedly, stats show Pele is the greatest, miles ahead of Maradona, Messi or Cristiano. And here is why:
In this era of constant news and instant experts, a footballer pulling of his shirt to celebrate a goal, makes him the “greatest ever”.
Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 3-2 in the Spanish La Liga clash with Messi netting twice. His second was virtually the last kick of the game and his 500th for Barcelona.
Pundits have gone overboard to hail him as the greatest ever. This only exposes their ignorance of players, their feat and goal-scoring statistics.
No player who fails to deliver for his National team in the World Cup can ever be compared to great footballers. For, the World Cup is the biggest and the best stage in the game. One who excels there is the greatest.
On all counts, club and country, stats, career or any yardstick, the greatest player there ever was and never will be is Brazil’s legend Edson Arantes de Nascimento or simply Pele.
Just have a look at all this and decide for yourself.
Pele played at a time when there was no Ballon D’or. He was declared SPORTSPERSON OF THE CENTURY by the International Olympic Committee ahead of the likes of Rod Laver (tennis), Mohammed Ali (boxing), Jessi Owens (athletics) etc.
FIFA declared him as the greatest player of the century. That the then FIFA President Joseph Blatter resorted to politics and declared Maradona as the internet-voted greatest.
Pele has won three World Cups, the only footballer to do so. Maradona has one, Messi and Cristiano nothing. Brazil has won the Jules Rimet Trophy thrice and the FIFA World Cup twice for a total of five victories. Pele was part of three of those victories and that is incredible. Pele won back to back titles in 1958 and 1962 before lifting his third and final one in 1970 and then retired from International soccer.
Pele has scored the most career goals in football. And every goal is recorded and authenticated by FIFA itself. Pele has scored 1,283 career goals in 1,363 games.
Pele has 77 goals in 91 matches for Brazil. Diego Maradona has 34 goals in 91 games for Argentina. Maradona has 259 goals in 491 matches in various club colors.
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In comparison, Lionel Messi has 500 goals in 577 appearances for club. He has scored a mere 58 goals in 117 games for Argentina. Cristiano Ronaldo has struck 518 goals in 710 club appearances. Cristiano has 71 goals in 138 games for Portugal.
Mere statistics puts Pele miles ahead of Maradona, Messi and Cristiano. All the other legendary footballers are far behind.
Pele has scored an incredible and record 92 hat-tricks in his glittering and unmatchable career. Pele has struck five goals on six occasions and scored four goals 31 times.
Cristiano Ronaldo has struck 39 and Messi 38 hat-tricks so far.
Pele, just 17 years and 244 days young, scored a hat-trick in the semi-final of the 1958 World Cup against France. This coming five days after he became the youngster scorer in a World Cup – a record that still stands.
Most of these records can never be reached, let alone surpassed by any footballer who is active today. What the future holds, only God knows for there can never be another Pele. Or there will have to be another like Pele. But as Pele himself once said:” How can there be another Pele? My parents have closed the factory.”
Today’s instant experts have the benefit of various tools to ascertain for themselves what Pele did and what others could not and even cannot.Mario Zagalo, Pele’s Brazil teammate and later manager as well in winning the World Cup said it the best: “You cannot get another like Pele in there next 100 years.” There can be no dispute whatsoever. Zagalo knows best.