Ask any futbol fan in the world, who is the greatest futbol player in history? The answer will surely be Pelé!
Futbol fans around the world mourned when they learned that Pelé died at age 82 on Dec. 29, 2022.
The Brazilian celebrity was born Edson Arantes Do Nacimento, but picked up his nickname as a child when he had trouble pronouncing a soccer player’s name.
Pelé’s greatness is undisputed among futbol aficionados worldwide thanks to his legacy within the sport and his personality on and off the soccer field. He became the athlete-role-model for several generations of young soccer players worldwide.
“Pelé was an inspiration for those who love the sport of futbol worldwide,” said Elvis “Chino” Martinez, 39, a SQ resident who practices soccer weekly with the San Quentin Earthquakes.
After his passing, many players expressed their sorrows via Twitter and other sites. Kylian Mbappé from France, Lionel Messi from Argentina, Neymar from Brazil, and Cristian Ronaldo from Portugal, just to name a few, shared their condolences and pictures of themselves with the unforgettable Pelé, reported France 24 News.
Pelé was the personal guest of at least three popes, six emperors, eight presidents, 15 kings and more than four-dozen heads of state. He was a United Nations ambassador for ecology and environment and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and, in his role as Brazil’s minister of sports, he proposed legislation to reduce corruption in soccer, a bill that became known as “Pelé’s Law;” the Los Angeles Times reported.
By his own account, Pelé was the most prolific scorer in soccer history with 1,283 goals in 1,366 matches. However, according to The AP, Pelé scored less than 800 goals in his career.
“Nobody disputes Pelé’s greatness and his penchant for scoring. The exact number of goals in his career will forever be a topic for debate,” reported The Associated Press. “Pelé often said one of the reasons he should be considered the greatest player of all time was because of his feat of scoring more than 1,000 goals.”
The official Guinness World Records attributes Pelé with 1,279 goals in 1,363 matches, stating that the count includes unspecified goals in “special presentations” after the end of his professional career, reported The AP.
Pelé is credited with 1,281 goals in 1,363 matches,” states FIFA, the governing body of soccer, Pelé scored more than 100 goals in a season twice, in 1959 (127 goals) and in 1961 (110 goals), said The AP.
Nevertheless, counting only goals scored in official matches, soccer players such as Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Lionel Messi of Argentina, Romário from Brazil and Josef Rican would be ahead in goals scored.
After his retirement and basically his entire life, Pelé was involved with the FIFA organization and participated as a celebrity and VIP in innumerable events worldwide, specially the FIFA World Cup that takes place every four years.
During the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, celebrated for the first time during the fall from Nov. 1, through Dec. 18, Pelé was in hospital and couldn’t attend for the first time in a long time, according to France 24 News.
Pelé’s family told the press that during his hospitalization he enjoyed the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on television. That included the final match on Dec. 18 that took place in the Stadium of Lusail, Qatar, according to France 24 News. After the game Pelé personally called Lionel Messi from the hospital bed to congratulate the victorious Argentinian team captain.
Third-time World Cup title holders Argentina beat France 4-2 in a penalty shootout. A 3-3 draw featured two goals from Messi, 35, and a hat trick by France forward Kylian Mbappé. Normally Messi and Mbappé play on the same French team, Paris Saint Germain.