In Brazil, football is like Religion. Thousands turn out to see the Brazil national team even if they train. Today’s Brazilian team consists of Superstars like Neymar, Robinho, and Ronaldo. In Brazil, football is in the blood and it has been like this for generations. Football is played in every part of Brazil from the beaches of Rio to the Backstreet of Sao Paolo. This passion for the game has produced many champions but there has been only one man who has been known as the King of Football “Edson Arantes do Nascimento” popularly known as Pele who is now a retired Football player and has been widely regarded as the greatest player of all times.
Pele has been listed in the Guinness Book of world records for most scored goals in the history of football. Pele scored a total of 1283 goals in 1363 games including unofficial friendlies and tour games.
In the early 1980s the presence of a curly-haired boy born in the Buenos Aires Province, but raised in the Villa Florito, a shantytown on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires raised everyone’s curiosity. In an interview that was conducted with the Child Prodigy, it was asked to him as to how he felt being termed as the Second Pele. The response was obvious. “I do not want to become the Second Pele. I want to be the first Maradona”. This was Diego Armando Maradona. As a 12- year boy he had amused the spectators present in the ground with his amazingly supreme ball control skills during the half time and here he was already promising to be the best footballer ever born on this planet. Ever since Maradona captained the Argentine National team to the World cup glory in the Fifa – 1986 World cup win there have been some obvious comparisons with the Great Pele. Maradona also earned the nickname for himself El Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Boy”), a name that stuck with him throughout his career.
The Comparisons: Pele Versus Maradona
In favor of Pele:
Pele scores over Maradona especially when it comes to statistics. Pele is the only footballer to win 3 World Cups and has scored more than 1000 goals in his career. Compared to Pele Maradona has won only one world cup.
Pele has been considered a thorough gentleman for the way he has conducted himself on and off the field compared to Maradona whose life has been marred by controversies be it involvement in drugs, kicking a fan, or his psychotic behavior.
Pele has scored 77 goals in 92 caps for Brazil at an average of almost 1 goal per game which is relatively high when compared to Maradona who has fewer goals on his score list.
In favor of Maradona:
There are only two football players who in a single-handed fashion have led their team to a world cup win, one was Garrincha in 1962 and the other was Maradona in 1986. Pele always had the support of some other marvelous players in his team while winning the World cup for Brazil.
Maradona never had the privilege to play alongside some great players in his team like Pele while playing for his national team and his club team at Napoli. Pele on the other side played with some exceptional soccer players like Garrincha and Zagallo and still, he managed to win games for both his club and the national side.
Maradona has proved his supremacy over football in three different countries like Spain when he played for Barcelona, Italy when he played for Napoli and Argentina when he played for his national side compared to Pele.
The quality of football was much improved during the Maradona period in the 1980s, so if there were more skillful defenders than an extra vote must go to Maradona compared to Pele.
The dribbling skills of Maradona are compared far too superior to that of Pele and the quality of offering an entertaining show is where Maradona scores over Pele.
In the ultimate analysis, views differ according to the time in which people watched football. But the fact of the matter remains that these two jewels in the pantheon of the footballing world have always been a sight to see.
“There will never be another Pele. There will never be another Maradona. There will always be new players but not at the same level,” – former Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos.