(Image via blogs.diariodepernambuco.com.br)
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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