It’s fairly unlikely that any player will eclipse the achievements of Pele whose name is emblazoned over the World Cup record books. Messi and Ronaldo hardly feature as footnotes in comparison to the world’s all time greatest player and the chances of them being fit to clean his boots let alone be considered in the same breath seem remote.
To simply summarise his honours and achievements is difficult but he remains the only player to win the World Cup on three occasions, he holds the record for the most goals scored in league football with 541 and 1281 in games including tour games and unofficial friendlies for which he is listed in the Guinness World Records. He remains the youngest player to reach a World Cup final at 17 in 1958, the youngest player to score and the youngest to score a hat-trick.
In Brazil he is considered a national hero, being declared a national treasure by the president of Brazil in 1961 and remains the all-time top scorer for Brazil. Many experts, critics, players and fans rate him as the greatest ever in polls. In 1999 the IOC elected Pele “Athlete of the Century”. In 2013 he received the FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in recognition for his achievements as a global football icon.
Pele began playing senior football aged 15 for his club Santos in 1956 , going on to make 638 appearances before joining New York Cosmos in 1975 before retiring in 1977. Pele played for Brazil between 1957-1971, making 92 appearances and scoring 77 goals.
Pele, now 73, will be a keen supporter of Brazil at the coming World Cup, hoping Brazil can win the title on home soil and erasing the painful memories of the 1950 World Cup.