PELE DID IT FIRST
This past week the football world has had to say good bye to Edson Arantes do Nascimento, famously renowned as Pele. The Brazilian legend passed away sadly on 29 December 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and was laid to rest on 03 January 2023 with over 230,000 people attending his funeral procession.
Pele for generations, has been regarded as the greatest ever to play the beautiful game. His achievements and honours include scoring over career 1200 goals, he is the only player in the history of the game to have won the World Cup 3 times, he was nominated and won the football player of the century award elected by France Football’s Ballon d’Or in 1999 and shared an award of the same title with Diego Maradona in the year 2000 issued by FIFA.
We will never see another Pele again (that’s for sure). Although Pele’s prolific and illustrious career was way before my time, I have always respected his achievements and the contributions he has made not just to football, but to the World. During a Civil war in Nigeria, the opposing parties held a cease fire in order for Pele’s club to play the national team (that alone is something to marvel at). As well as being a humanitarian, Pele has also graced the Silver-Screen appearing in a number of productions but non more popular than his appearance in Escape to Victory alongside Hollywood actors Sylvester Stallone & Michael Caine and a host of cameo roles by other professional footballers like England’s Bobby Moore and Argentina’s Osvaldo Ardiles.
There has always been this debate in football as to who the greatest footballer of all time truly is and a lot of the older generation have always identified Pele as that individual. Personally, I have always felt Maradona was the G.O.A.T and now with Messi winning the World Cup I have gone on record and declared that Messi is the greatest. Now, not to backtrack on what I have always regarded; however, Pele may have not been given a fair shout in this debate. Why do I say this? Well aside from the fact that the Man has won 3 World Cups, scored over 1200 goals and legendary iconic status. He actually did a lot of what we see and admire in the modern game first. Whether it be playing with flair, dribbling, attempts on goal from the halfway line, the iconic Cruyff turn, tika-taka, the bicycle kick……the list goes on and on, PELE DID IT FIRST.
REST IN PEACE GIANLUCA VIALLI