Pelé died, the first great crack that Brazil and world football had

Pele
the first supercrack that world football had, died this Thursday at the age of 82 from generalized cancer, just over a year after the other great 10 that the sport had:
Diego Armando Maradona
.

Born October 23, 1940 in three hearts (Minas Gerais) in the home of Joao Ramos do Nascimento (Dondinho, an Atlético Mineiro footballer who tore his cruciate ligaments in his first game, which cut short his upward career) and María Celeste Arantes, the story of Edson Arantes do Nascimento She is closely linked to Uruguay and the 1950 Maracanazo, because that afternoon in Baurú (where her family had moved and suffered financial hardship) she saw her father cry over the defeat and promised him that he would be a soccer player and win the World Cup. for Brazil. And boy did she deliver: she did it in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Since his surprising international breakthrough at the age of 17 at the 58 World Cup in Sweden, he has always been at the center of the scene: multi-champion with Santos and the Brazilian team, retirement and return to the New York Cosmos, actor, Minister of Sports in Brazil, commentator and permanent commercial figure. The only thing that he always escaped was to be a technical director.

At the time, Edson Arantes do Nascimento was considered the greatest footballer in history. The title remains intact for the Brazilians, although in Argentina they vote for Diego Maradona and in Spain for Lionel Messi. The strongest argument to prove the Brazilians right is that he is the only three-time world champion player, although in 1962 he was injured at the beginning of the tournament and did not play again.

With Santos he became two-time champion of America and the world, in addition to numerous local titles, including five cups Brazil and 10 Paulistas. On the other hand, he never won the Copa América, something that Maradona did not do either, but Messi did.

Pelé's first goal in a World Cup, in 1958. Photo: @Pele

Pelé’s first goal in a World Cup, in 1958. Photo: @Pele

One of the reasons that forged his legend was his enormous goalscoring production, which reached 1,281, 1,282 or 1,284 conquests, according to various statistics. The issue is that he intervened in all kinds of parties; official, friendly, charitable, military and almost always of course converted.

The day he reached his thousandth goal, he made international news, before dozens of journalists from all over: he did it as a penalty against Vasco da Gama at the Maracana stadium, on November 19, 1969.

The account of his goals was made and adjusted several times. In 1995, the daily Folha de São Paulo published a statistic according to which the true thousandth goal had occurred in the previous match. Four years later, Placar magazine recounted and found seven matches and one goal that had remained unrecorded, with which the thousandth was once again the penalty against Vasco.

In total, Placar attributes 1,281 goals to him, achieved in 1,375 games. The first goal was in his debut with Santos, on September 7, 1956 against Corinthians de Santo André. The last one, a charity friendly “Selection of the Southeast against Selection of the South” on July 21, 1983, six years after his official retirement. His last match was for the Brazilian team in a tribute to “Amigos de Pelé” in Italy: on October 31, 1990, when he was already 50 years old.

Pelé with the World Cup.  Photo: File

However, a few years ago, the journalist from The graphic Martín Estévez launched a shocking statement: oh king In reality, he “only” scored 757 official goals, distributed as follows: 643 for Santos, 37 for the United States Cosmos and 77 for the Brazil team.

Estévez pointed out that the rest of the goals occurred as follows: 446 in friendlies with Santos, 26 in friendlies with Cosmos, nine with the São Paulo state team, six in a Santos-Vasco da Gama team; 18 in exhibitions of the selection of Brazil; three for the São Paulo athletes union, five in benefit matches and 14 for a selection from the Brazilian Armed Forces. Total: 1,284.

Placar gave in 1995 the complete list of the games played by Pelé and the goals scored, although without discriminating between the official ones and the friendlies. But a constant in his career is clear: he played a lot and everywhere. When his best player became famous, Santos became a traveling show that toured the world. He appeared in African and Asian nations that were just emerging from soccer, but also made friendlies against the main European teams. And he competed in the always overloaded Brazilian calendar and for the Libertadores.

Pele
Visit of Pele, in Montevideo, soccer player from Brazil, at the headquarters of the National Soccer Club, photo El Pais Archive, page 18, year 1969, 19691201

Archive El País/Archive El Pais

The intensity of Pelé’s performances is impressive. In 1959, for example, he played 103 games (that is, two a week throughout the year) and scored 127 times. In such an excessive trajectory, it is logical that his goals also show very large numbers, whatever the sum.

The many facets of a legend

Pelé’s career, which spans over 60 years among his various activities, was very vast and powerful. In his soccer days he represented the biggest celebrity on the planet. After his retirement, of course, it was not the same, but he maintained important visibility.

When Brazil won the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, Pelé was just 18 years old. In celebrating the title, he wept like a child on the shoulder of the archer Gilmar, a well-known image. But the profession made him an adult very soon. The performance of his club, Santos, or the Brazilian team, began to be demanded everywhere, which led to endless tours, with his obligatory presence.

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Without being tall, he had a privileged physique, capable of making improbable jumps to head or unstoppable pikes. He was skillful, fast, perfect in his technique and with great sagacity to improvise the unexpected play. He was also strong enough to bear the marks, even if they weren’t as sticky as the current ones, and he even showed malice to answer if they were looking for him.

In 1971 he retired from the national team and in 1974 from Santos, but a year later he announced his return, to play for the New York Cosmos in the fledgling American league. In 1977 he ended this second stage of his career, although he later participated in eight charity or commemorative games.

During his career he was shown as an accessible and likeable celebrity, although the public’s fury to meet him was always almost overwhelming. Far from the courts, he usually acted with extreme diplomacy, which earned him criticism: he rarely criticized, especially when establishment sporting or political

This attitude is largely explained by his zeal to take care of his image. When he became a veteran, he resigned from the national team, despite the requests of the fans, to leave intact the memory of his performance in Mexico 70. For that same reason, he never aspired to be a coach, a job too exposed for taste. of the.

Its fame also made it an ideal vehicle to promote any product. That led at times to extreme commercialization. In an episode of The Simpsons they made a brief but poignant parody of him: Pelé kicks off an important game, takes the opportunity to pass a notice and immediately receives a bag full of money.

As Minister of Sports he left an important legacy: the so-called Pele Lawwhich sought to improve the situation of soccer players and clubs, which must be Sports Societies.

Pelé died, the first great crack that Brazil and world football had