Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Pele’s number of goals, cause of eternal debate

No one doubts the greatness of Pele, but how many goals did he score in his career. In fact, that figure will be the subject of an eternal debate.

Pelé used to say that one of the reasons why he should be considered the greatest footballer in history was his achievement of scoring over 1,000 goals. But many dispute this figure, as Pelé included goals scored in friendly matches, including some against amateur teams.

The veteran footballer who won three World Cups passed away on Thursday. He was 82 years old.

Many of his goals came at a time when it was not so easy to record game statistics. Many of them don’t even have movies or videos.

There is also a discrepancy in the number of games he has played. The amount varies by source.

Pelé stated that he was the leading scorer in history with 1,283 goals in 1,366 games.

Next up, a look at the different versions of “O Ree” on the goal-scoring bill.


official match

If only goals in these games are taken into account, Pelé’s score was less than 800, regardless of source.

This puts him below Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Romário and Joseph Beacon, who all played before Pele’s time.

With the Brazilian team, Pelé scored a total of 95 goals, but 18 were against clubs or teams in games that are usually no longer included in official statistics.

Another 34 goals came in friendly matches against other teams.


controversial match

Pelé played some 550 unofficial matches, partly because his Santos club made a fortune by playing exhibition matches and touring the world with their illustrious star.

Some of Crack’s goal lists include friendly and exhibition matches against low-level opponents.

He scored for U23 teams, national teams, regional teams and even in some military events while serving in the Brazilian army.

Their rivals included the Saudi Arabian under-23 team, the Uruguayan Armed Forces and the Rio de Janeiro Sports Union.

Argentine star Diego Maradona was among those who reprimanded Pelé for his controversial number of goals.

“Who did you score them against?” He had asked her many years ago on a TV show. “Your nephews are in the backyard?”

In total, it is believed that more than 500 of Pelé’s goals came in unofficial matches.



The Guinness World Records organization has recognized Pelé’s 1,279 goals in 1,363 matches.

He adds that the footballer scored more goals in “special appearances” after the conclusion of his career, without giving details.

Pele played a few celebratory games following his official retirement in 1977. That year, in his farewell game, he played half the game with Santos and half with the New York Cosmos, his final club.



Football’s governing body credits Pelé with scoring 1,281 goals in 1,363 matches, two more than the Guinness record for the same number of matches.

The reason for the discrepancy is unclear, as neither organization provides a comprehensive list of goals and matches.

FIFA adds that Pelé twice scored more than 100 goals in a season. He posted 127 in 1959 and 110 in 1961.



Santos also noted that Pelé scored 1,281 goals, but in 1,365 games. He confirmed that 1,091 of those goals were achieved with the Brazilian club.

According to the team, Starr scored 106 times in the 1965 season.


statistical foundation

Even the website of the statistical organization RSSSF, arguably the most accurate source of soccer data, lists different totals for Pelé’s goals.

He reports that he received 1,284 in 1,375 games, which limits his total to 769 in official matches.

The site emphasizes that in official matches, Cristiano Ronaldo is the leading scorer with 817 goals, followed by Lionel Messi with 771.


other great scorers

If goals in unofficial matches are taken into account, Pelé is not the only one to have scored over 1,000.

Bikan, who played for Austria and the Czech Republic, tops some lists with more than 1,400 goals, followed by Arthur Friedenreich of Brazil.

Guinness mentions Friedenreich as having played in the early 20th century. He noted that he scored “an unspecified figure of 1,329 goals” in a career spanning 26 years.


Telles Azzoni is on Twitter:

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