Pele at 80: The place does he rank among the many GOATs?

Pele at 80: The place does he rank among the many GOATs?

In 1961, the federal government of Brazil declared Pele an “official nationwide treasure” to stop him being transferred overseas

Regardless of how outdated you’re, or who you grew up watching, one man has lengthy dominated the controversy about simply who was the best footballer of all time.

From World Cup glory at 17 to Escape to Victory theatrics through 1,000 objectives, Gordon Banks’ save, and outrageous dummies, Pele has been a strolling, speaking showreel for greater than half a century.

Was he the best participant to ever grace the sport – or are the modern-day superstars a minimize above?

As Pele turns 80, BBC Sport asks you to fee his achievements amongst among the different GOATs (from this checklist)external-link – and you’ll put them so as on the backside…

Observe: The Ballon d’Or might solely be received by a European participant till 1995

Pele (Santos, NY Cosmos & Brazil)

World Cup wins: 1958, 1962, 1970 European Cup/Champions League wins: 0

Ballons d’Or: 0 League titles: 7

Worldwide caps/objectives: 92/77

A teenage dream who was the highest-paid and highest-profile sports activities star on the planet in his pomp, Pele was a phenomenon.

Breaking on to the worldwide scene aged 17 with a hat-trick within the World Cup semi-final and two extra within the closing, Brazil’s main goalscorer is one in every of simply 4 gamers to have scored in 4 totally different World Cup tournaments (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970).

He received three of these and was kicked out of the ’66 match in England by some brutal defending – the one technique to cease him.

Not only a goalscorer, Pele had a hand in 53% of Brazil’s 19 objectives as they received the 1970 World Cup (4 objectives, six assists) and was as adept at taking part in behind the primary striker as he was main the road.

The best? Or does the actual fact he by no means performed membership soccer in Europe maintain him again in your eyes?

“Had he been taking part in now, Pele would absolutely have made the transfer to Europe,” says BBC Radio 5 Dwell soccer correspondent John Murray.

“It is the problem with evaluating generations. We will solely decide him on the document he has and it’s actually phenomenal.

“The achievements of Maradona, Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo make it an in depth name however, even now, Pele nonetheless has a robust declare to be thought of the best recreation’s best participant.”

Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich, NY Cosmos, Hamburg & West Germany)

World Cup wins: 1974 European Cup/Champions League wins: 3

Ballons d’Or: 2 League titles: 8

Worldwide caps/objectives: 103/14

‘Der Kaiser’ received the World Cup as participant and supervisor and resides proof you do not have to be an attacker to rank among the many easiest.

A playmaker even from centre-back, Beckenbauer was equally at dwelling in midfield or defence and made his debut on the left wing. What you name a complete participant.

He received three European Cups in a row for the dominant Bayern aspect of the mid-Nineteen Seventies.

Johan Cruyff (Ajax, Barcelona, LA Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Feyenoord & the Netherlands)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 3

Ballons d’Or: 3 League titles: 10

Worldwide caps/objectives: 48/33

Johan Cruyff

A supremely gifted particular person who was additionally all concerning the workforce – not profitable a World Cup along with his band of ludicrously good Dutch brothers within the Nineteen Seventies would be the solely blot on his copybook.

Produced one of many World Cup’s most well-known moments, had a flip named after him, and went on to encourage Pep Guardiola and numerous others when teaching Barca’s so-called ‘dream workforce’ of the early Nineteen Nineties.

Misplaced some huge cash with an unwise funding in pig farming – which isn’t a line you are prone to ever examine Messi or Ronaldo…

Alfredo di Stefano (River Plate, Millionarios, Actual Madrid, Espanyol & Argentina, Colombia & Spain)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 5

Ballons d’Or: 2 League titles: 13

Worldwide caps/objectives: 41/29

Di Stefano received his fifth and closing European Cup in 1960 – nonetheless just one participant has extra wins.

He scored in 5 finals in a row, and received all of them.

And, sure, he performed for 3 international locations on the worldwide scene. Beat that.

Diego Maradona (Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, Newell’s Outdated Boys & Argentina)

World Cup wins: 1986 European Cup/Champions League wins: 0

Ballons d’Or: 0 League titles: 3

Worldwide caps/objectives: 91/34

What a participant. If you have not seen it, please go and watch the latest documentary about his time in Naples. It is very good.

Single-handedly (just about) dragged his Argentina workforce to World Cup glory, and carried Napoli to 2 Serie A titles. Does that separate him from Lionel Messi? As much as you.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 4

Ballons d’Or: 6 League titles: 10

Worldwide caps/objectives: 140/71

Lionel Messi

“No-one else does the issues he does, the way in which he does them – and no-one ever has completed. He’s merely the best to have ever performed the sport.”

The phrases of Gary Lineker no much less.

Are you able to even mount an argument in opposition to Messi being primary on this checklist? Everyone knows simply how good he’s. Maybe an absence of worldwide success with Argentina and ‘solely’ profitable issues with Barcelona? However we’re splitting hairs there.

An absolute genius.

Ferenc Puskas (Budapest Honved, Actual Madrid & Hungary & Spain)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 3

Ballons d’Or: 0 League titles: 10

Worldwide caps/objectives: 89/87

There’s a respectable case for stating the ‘Magic Magyars’ Hungary workforce of the Nineteen Fifties was the very best on the planet. They misplaced only one match in six years – which, sadly, occurred to be the World Cup closing.

That is how good Ferenc Puskas was. He was 31 when he joined Actual Madrid and nonetheless received 5 league titles, three European Cups and scored 242 objectives.

He scored 514 objectives in 529 matches within the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. Ridiculous actually, is not it?

Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Actual Madrid, Juventus & Portugal)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 5

Ballons d’Or: 5 League titles: 7

Worldwide caps/objectives: 167/101

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Champions League’s all-time high goalscorer and scorer of 100 objectives for Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo is a exceptional participant. Particularly when you think about how he has reinvented himself from spindly winger to highly effective quantity 9.

Whether or not you rank him forward of Messi or not is the controversy of our footballing time – in contrast to Messi, although, he has received titles in three international locations. And received a serious match along with his nationwide aspect.

Ronaldo (Cruzeiro, PSV, Barcelona, Inter, Actual Madrid, Milan, Corinthians & Brazil)

World Cup wins: 1994, 2002 European Cup/Champions League wins: 0

Ballons d’Or: 2 League titles: 1

Worldwide caps/objectives: 98/62


Wherever you find yourself rating Ronaldo, we will all agree he can be greater if it wasn’t for horrific accidents. At his peak, maybe in his season at Barcelona or his first 12 months at Inter earlier than one more setback, he was as near unplayable because it will get. It is no surprise he broke the world switch document twice by the age of 21.

Check out his highlights reel and observe – the jaw-dropping shut management, the trademark step-overs at pace that humiliated a decade of goalkeepers, the highly effective end with both foot – he actually was one thing else.

It is bordering on felony that he solely received one league title in his profession. One!

Zinedine Zidane (Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, Actual Madrid & France)

World Cup wins: 1998 European Cup/Champions League wins: 1

Ballons d’Or: 1 League titles: 3

Worldwide caps/objectives: 108/31

One other participant who did not win practically sufficient honours, and very like Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane re-imagined a place.

Earlier than ‘Zizou’ the stereotypical quantity 10 was your playmaker however could possibly be kicked out of the sport, was there to be shot at. Not an opportunity with Zidane, who mixed the pace of thought and foot of a ballerina with the body and menace of a cruiserweight.

At his finest Zidane was so good I could not even actually inform you the place he performed. A quantity 10, certain, however he’d typically find yourself on the left, drop deep to take the ball from the defence or goalkeeper, and but in some way nonetheless pop up within the space as nicely.

Not an out-and-out goalscorer or a striker, however nonetheless received the World Cup for France with two headers and scored the very best aim ever seen in a Champions League closing.

A whole participant, who even knew how one can log off in shame with a purple card for a headbutt after scoring in his second World Cup closing.

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