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Pele wins pettiest act of 2021 over goals claim - & it's only the start of January

Jamie Spencer
Pele insists he scored 1,283 goals in his career
Pele insists he scored 1,283 goals in his career / Marc Piasecki/Getty Images
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Brazil icon Pele is a legend of the game and is among the select few players who can genuinely lay claim to being called the ‘greatest of all time’.

But the 80-year-old has regrettably outed himself as being partial to a bit of pettiness in the wake of being outscored over the weekend by Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo has officially scored more goals than Pele
Cristiano Ronaldo has officially scored more goals than Pele / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Pele scored a mind-blowing 757 official goals in his career for Santos, New York Cosmos and Brazil over the course of a ground-breaking 21-year career that saw him win three World Cups, the first aged just 17, and set countless records for his various stunning feats.

Ronaldo, however, moved onto 758 goals at senior club and international level when he netted a brace for Juventus in his last appearance. Little more than a week earlier, Pele had seen his record tally of 643 goals for one club (Santos) broken when Lionel Messi scored his 644th for Barcelona.

Pele himself has long maintained that he scored 1,283 goals. He technically did, but that tally is massively inflated by goals from various exhibitions, tour games and friendlies that aren’t officially recognised and therefore cannot really be counted.

But in the wake of Messi breaking his single-club record – which Santos denied on his behalf – Pele has reacted to claims that Ronaldo is a more prolific scorer by adding a new line to his Instagram bio.

In addition to ‘3x World Cup Champion’ and ‘FIFA Football Player of the Century’, both accolades that he deserves to shout about, it now also reads, ‘Leading Goal Scorer of All Time (1,283)’.

The honour of ‘leading goal scorer of all time’ really belongs to Austrian-born Czech forward Josef Bican, whose official tally stands at least at 805 (sketchy records in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s mean it could be actually more). Even his unofficial goal tally is higher than Pele’s at over 1,400.

Bican's representatives (if he still has them) could well be in touch soon.


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