Pelé consistently deceives the footballing community with half-truths regarding his achievements.
This is the same guy that said Nicky Butt was the 2002 FIFA World Cup's best player. So do not take his word as the gospel, especially when he's talking about himself (which he does a lot).
This article aims to enlighten your view on Pelé and here are the top five things he doesn't want you to know.
Pelé did score 1,283 goals, but 526 goals came in unofficial friendlies and tour games.
He even counted games he played for the Sixth Coast Guard in the military competition.
He officially scored 757 goals in 812 games.
As great as Pelé's goal scoring ratio was, it pales in comparison to Fernando Peyroteo.
Of course, Pelé probably would dismiss Peyroteo's achievements, just like I'm about to dismiss some of the Brazilian's goals.
Looking through Emilio Castaño's statistical analysis of Pelé's goal-scoring feats, you can't help but notice irregularities.
|Santos 11-0 Botafogo Ribeirão Preto||8|
|Santos 11-1 Maringá||5|
|Santos 10-3 Nitro-Química||5|
|Santos 10-0 Nacional||5|
|Santos 10-1 Royal Neerschot||5|
|Santos 10-2 Guarani||5|
|Santos 10-1 Juventus||5|
The eight goals Pelé scored against Botafogo didn't come against the Botafogo.
It came against a side bearing the same name and whose only achievement was producing the late great Sócrates.
It's not the Uruguayan Nacional but some state side in São Paulo. The same applies to Juventus—not the European one, but another irrelevant state side.
Even Fernando Torres would score goals against those sides.
A real gauge of Pelé's goal-scoring ability was his international record.
He never scored four goals or more in a game and his 77 goals in 92 games is mortal, as opposed to his mythical 1,283 goals.
Pelé needs a reality check regarding his FIFA World Cup achievements.
|Most World Cup All-Star appearances||Djalma Santos and Franz Beckenbauer, 3
|Most World Cup goals||Ronaldo, 15|
|Most World Cup goals in one final||Geoff Hurst, 3|
|Most World Cup goals in one tournament||Just Fontaine, 13|
|Most World Cup goals in one game||Oleg Salenko, 5|
|Most World Cup games||Lothar Matthäus, 25|
|Most World Cup games won||Cafu, 16|
|Most World Cup tournaments||Antonio Carbajal and Lothar Matthäus, 5|
Pelé played in four FIFA World Cup tournaments but was outperformed in every single one of them.
For a man that boasts about his goal-scoring prowess, I find it amusing that he never mentions himself as a Silver Boot winner.
|Year||Golden Boot Winner, goals||Pelé's goals
|1958||Just Fontaine, 13 ||6|
|1962||Six players tied, 4||1|
|1970||Gerd Müller, 10 ||4|
To be fair, Pelé was injured during the 1962 and 1966 World Cup. When he was fully fit for the 1958 and 1970 World Cup, he wasn't the top goal scorer.
In fact, he wasn't even Brazil's top scorer during the 1970 World Cup. That accolade went to Jairzinho with seven goals.
People always ask me: "When is the new Pele going to be born?" Never. My father and mother have closed the factory. When Messi's scored 1,283 goals like me, when he's won three World Cups, we'll talk about it.
Messi needs to reach 758 goals instead of 1,284 and needs to win two FIFA World Cups instead of three.
Pelé was a member of three World Cup-winning teams, but he sat out the large majority of the 1962 World Cup.
It was Garrincha who singlehandedly won the World Cup for Brazil, not Pelé.
When Pelé compiled his 125 greatest living footballers list, he didn't include many of his teammates.
Regarding the teammates that made the cut: There are two of the greatest right-backs ever in Carlos Alberto and Djalma Santos. Then there is one of the greatest left-backs ever in Nílton Santos. Also a marvelous midfielder in Rivelino.
Here are Pelé's teammates who were ineligible for his list: Garrincha (inspired Brazil to win the 1962 FIFA World Cup), Vavá (scored three goals in two World Cup finals) and Didi (1958 World Cup Golden Ball winner).
Pelé shockingly omitted teammates: Gérson, Jairzinho, Gilmar, Tostão, Zito, Bellini and Zagallo.
I read into the omissions as Pelé's way of downplaying his teammate's role in his success.
I would have liked to see Pelé symbolically include Santos strike partner Coutinho on the list as a way of saying thank you. After all, they did supposedly combine for over 1,000 goals.
I'll never forget what Gérson, who was Pelé's Xavi, said this about his role in that legendary 1970 World Cup team:
Now the interesting thing is this, as incredible as it might seem, I prefer a thousand times over to make the pass, rather than to score the goal. For me this was the glory because this is what I was trained for.
It was disgraceful that Pelé forgot about the thousands of passes Gérson made.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi dedicated his FIFA Ballon d’Or to Xavi: "I want to share this with my friend, he deserves it."
Has anyone ever wondered were Pelé was when Garrincha's life was spiraling out of control?
Never forget that Pelé played with historic teammates who made him into the living legend he is.
They were that good that they didn't even need Pelé for the 1962 World Cup.
Please read Top 10 Replacements for Eric Abidal.
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