They call it a goat, not a boat. No one can decide who was the greatest footballer of all time, the most technically capable and the most determined. But mastery and greatness are not the same. The short answer to the question of who was the greatest of them all is Pele.
You can answer numerically. Pele has scored so many goals that I can’t count them without arguing about what should and should not count, but it’s certainly well over 1000.
He has also won the World Cup three times. This is a completely independent record. But due to some brutal fouls and some really shocking referee decisions, that number could very easily go to four, making 1966 almost meaningless in this country.
Sports greatness isn’t just measured by the pitch, track or ring. That’s a question as relevant as all the gists. It can and should be measured in the wild and futile emotions it can inflict on an entire country, on the whole world.In Brazil, he has already declared three days of national mourning. Football’s greatest nation leaves no doubt as to who was the greatest.
He himself had no doubt about it. At the end of his very long career, he started an even longer one. Pele’s self-promoted world tour lasted nearly his fifty years. Seven years ago, I interviewed him very briefly at the opening of a Pele-inspired art exhibition in a gallery in London. rice field.
His English wasn’t great, but he was used to making up for his slight ambiguity with a beaming smile and raw charisma. I said there was no one better than me, but I was asked if there was anyone better than me, but there is no new Pele!
They certainly did. For anyone under the age of about 60, Pele is more of an emotion than a person. idea. Even for those over 60, his greatness wasn’t something that could be consumed in real time over decades like Messi, Roger Federer or Tiger Woods. How much he changed football and his central role in making it what it is is not easily or easily understood, even among football fans.
It’s often said that it’s impossible to compare players across the ages, but Pelé was the Beethoven of football, who in his own way combined the old with the new, the classic with the romantic.
If that Brazilian team in 1970 didn’t go on to win the world’s first Technicolor World Cup, in the uniquely artistic and beautiful way they did it, it took a lot longer for the game to come to fruition. Maybe.
Of course, no one has glorified Pele more than Pele himself. He also sat under his own giant Andy Warhol print in that gallery in London, claiming that games were superior in his time. There were also 3 or 4 good players: Beckenbauer, George Best, Zico, Maradona, Cruyff, Bobby Moore, they were all world class.Name four from modern football: Messi. , Ronaldo, Suarez, Neymar. Can you see the difference?”
The difference I didn’t dare to point out is that his hand-picked selection spanned about 35 years by conservative estimates and included Maradona, who he had never played against in particular.
There is no doubt that football is better than it was then. Players are faster and fitter, and so is the pitch. We have a much more accumulated tactical knowledge and a better understanding of how games are won and lost.
But most of it comes through money, and money comes through global attention. Would the interest never have been if it wasn’t for the game’s first great global superstar? Probably, but not exactly the same.
Modern footballers often talk about their fear of lining up in the tunnel alongside Brazil’s famous yellow shirts.Brazilian players also know it gives them an edge. That supremacy, more than anyone else, was a gift of Pele and lives on today.