Thursday, 29 March 2012

Icon #81 Pele

The Most Iconic Footballer Ever
There are many pretenders to the most iconic footballer of all time.  Today as I write this we have two, at least, who fans will look back on as greats.  We've had many make the most of their gifts (and their looks) to become icons in their own right, faces  you'd recognise anywhere regardless of whether they had a ball at their feet or not.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento however, was from a different age.

Light years ahead of most of his generation of footballers and light years ahead of every game having a camera at it, which is why so much of what we know is drilled down to stats rather than glorious footage.  In 1363 games he scored 1281 goals.

1281 goals.  That's mental.  But what goals there were.  Remember that Gascoigne goal from Euro 96, when he lobbed the defender and volleyed the ball into the net?  Pele did that in the 1958 World Cup Final.  He was seventeen.  In the semi final of that tournament he scored a second half hat trick to help Brazil to a 5-1 win.

Twelve years later in Mexico he scored again in the final playing his part in one of the greatest football teams that ever played.  He played in the 1962 finals and got injured early in the tournament, although Brazil went on to win and in 1966 Brazil exited early so that England could win... or something.

1281.

So much of the footage before 1970 is of a poor quality but have a quick watch of this.  Some of it looks like a trick of the camera.  The control over the ball, which isn't made of air like today's variety, is sublime.

He'd have been annoying for sure.  Being that much better than everyone else can't not go to your head, but you rarely hear much negativity and the man has almost god like status in Brazil.  And Brazil, Brazil are the best at football.  He was their best player ever.  So he got the post.

1281.

Tonight's 'come back post' is dedicated to everyone who said Pele but mostly @JackFaulkner.