God of football – Know who is the God of Football? [Updated 2022]

Who is the God of football

Born on October 23, 1940, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, commonly known as Pelé, is regarded as the god of football. In 1950, when Brazil lost the World Cup final to Uruguay, a 10-year-old kid saw his father crying and told him, “Don’t worry, dad, one day I will win it!” Now that’s some confidence for a 10-year-old. Who would have imagined that this kid would become the God of Football, Pelé?

Despite players like Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo, Pelé has been titled the god of football because he is the only player who has won three world cups for Brazil in 1958, 1962, and 1966.

Pelé was referred to as a goal-scoring machine. A supremely skilled footballer to grace this game, he is the only player to score over 1,200 goals. The jaw-dropping statistics associated with this legendary player had a massive impact on the success of his club and country.

This article debates who is the god of football and takes you through a player’s journey who broke all the records.

Who is the God of Football? Pelé or Maradona

There is no official title for “The God of Football.” Many might argue that Diego Maradona is the god of football. Even though Maradona won only 1 World cup for Argentina in 1986, he did it on his own, whereas, Pelé had a good team while winning the World Cup. But, Pelé’s goal-scoring superiority is higher as compared to Maradona:

Word Cup StatsPeléDiego Maradona
Goals128
Tournaments44
Appearances1421
Goals per game0.860.38

Thus, based on the stats, we have chosen Pelé as the god of football over Diego Maradona.

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Who is the God of football? Messi or Ronaldo or Pelé

Ask a millennial about today’s football star. The reply would be Messi or Ronaldo. Every football fanatic must have gone through the debate on who is the God of Football? One of the finest footballers, Johan Cruyff, once said that the only player to surpass the boundaries of logic was Pelé.

In recent years, undoubtedly, Messi and Ronaldo have enthralled millions. Both are phenomenal players and have hammered more than 680 club goals. But a significant differentiator is World Cups, where both these footballers are considered underachievers as they have not won any. Another key reason why most football buffs will still clamor for the genius of Pelé. Four world cup appearances, out of which three wins and a Guinness World Record of 1,283 goals in 1363 matches, are records of Pelé that will remain unmatched for decades.

At an age that most countries considered too young to vote or drive, Pelé scored twice in a 1958 World Cup. Considering that the World Cup is the most coveted event in football, it is an unmatched feat. Pelé won three World titles, was the youngest scorer (17 years old) in a World Cup, and the top scorer of the Brazil National Football Team. Add these stats, and the debate is over for who is the god of football.

Let us get to know more about the Man, The Icon, and The God of Football – Pelé

The God of Football – Pelé Journey

It is unimaginable that an illustrious player like Pelé, the highest-paid athlete at his peak, could not afford a ball during his childhood. He would use stuffed socks shaped like a ball to practice.

He was born on October 23rd, 1940, in Três Corações, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. João Ramos do Nascimento, Pelé’s father was also a professional soccer player, but his career could not help overcome their family’s financial challenges. As a child, Pelé worked various jobs to help his father. However, he developed a passion for the football game, and his father realized his son’s true talent was on the field.

His father and Waldemar de Brito, a former national player, began coaching him. Soon, Coach Brito recognized his potential and recommended him to Santos FC, and in 1956 the team signed Pelé. He went on to win nine São Paulo league championships. Pelé was on the top of the list of goalscorers in the league within a year.

Dazzling growth to stardom

Scoring crucial goals in the semi-final against France and in the final against Sweden during the 1958 World Cup that led Brazil to win made Pelé a household name. All of this at the tender age of 17! He won the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup in 1962 and 1963, respectively. Pelé’s electrifying playing style and spectacular goals were a delight for his fans and made him a star all around the globe.

Pelé was the only footballer to score eight goals in a single match during his time. His love for goals is evident from the statistics. He was never content with scoring one goal! Aside from 92 hat tricks, he scored four goals on 31 occasions, five goals six times, and eight goals once. Pelé’s goals were pure entertainment. One of his goals, which he was personally proud of, was in the World Cup final against Sweden. For this goal, before heading the ball into the net, he adeptly managed to keep the ball in the air above the heads of three Juventus players. No wonder, when asked who is the god of football, his name is the first one that comes to mind.

Although Pelé said that he would play only for Santos, he could not resist saying yes to the New York Cosmos club. The club benefited massively from this, there was a significant rise in ticket sales, and the club even won championships. The head coach of the New York Cosmos club, Gordon Bradley, said that Pelé was the star attraction whenever they traveled internationally. On many occasions, his opponents were so adamant about swapping shirts with him that post-match, the club had to give every opponent a t-shirt. Sometimes, the club officials had to carry 25-30 t-shirts.

Pelé – The Black Pearl

Pelé was often referred to as Pérola Negra, the Black Pearl, and quickly became a national hero. Among the zillions of reasons was his remarkable caliber to anticipate his opponents’ moves left them speechless. Generations of players and football enthusiasts have wondered how Pelé could help his team win out of any challenging situation.

Journalists would call his playing style samba football, but in reality, it was an excellent mix of samba and Capoeira. It included dance, martial arts, rhythm, and creativity. Pelé played his last match on October 1, 1977, when the New York Cosmos played Santos. It was a joyful and emotional occasion for his family and many celebrities, including boxer Muhammad Ali, to witness the final goal of the god of football.

Distinguished awards

An exceptional forward, dribbler, scorer, and player with a superhuman level of field vision, Pelé was a recipient of several prestigious awards.

  • Pelé was crowned with the title Football Player of the Century by FIFA (International Federation of Association Football).
  • In 1978, he received the International Peace Award.
  • In 1980, L’Equipe, a French daily newspaper, named him the Athlete of the Century. In 1999, the International Olympic Committee conferred him the same title.
  • Pelé was welcomed into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • Not only this, the year 2014 witnessed the grand opening of the Pelé Museum in Santos, Brazil.
  • Along with these accomplishments, he also starred in multiple documentaries and published his autobiography, which became a bestseller. 
  • The soundtrack for Pelé: Birth of a Legend is among his many musical compositions, released in 1977. The movie has captured the meteoric rise of Brazilian legend, and it continues to inspire countless youngsters to date.

So, when the question – of who is the god of football – arises, these extraordinary facts and records rule out any conflicts.

Facts about Pelé that we bet you didn’t know

  • In Santos, 19th November is called Pelé Day because, in 1969, he scored his 1000th goal on this day.
  • Pelé won three FIFA World Cup titles (1958, 1962, and 1970) with Brazil, the most of any footballer in World Cup history.
  • Pelé made his international debut in 1957 when he was only 16.
  • Have you heard of a person being declared a national treasure? It is true. In 1961, the Brazilian government declared him a national treasure to prevent foreign football clubs from taking him out of the country.
  • Pelé’s journey from pitch to the government began when he was appointed Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister of Sport between 1995 and 1998. He also worked as the United Nations ambassador for Ecology and Environment.

If you are wondering how the name Pelé originated, you must know that his family had nicknamed him Dico. It was not until school that he got the name, Pelé.

The rumor goes that he admired a Vasco da Gama goalkeeper named Bilé. But he pronounced it Pile, for which his classmates mocked him and started calling him Pile. Thus, the name stuck.

Whether it is Pelé or Dico, does it matter? Pelé himself claimed that he never gave it much thought. The true magic lies in the legacy and the indelible mark that this footballer left on the field.

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Who is the God of Football – FAQs

Which clubs did Pelé play for?

Pelé played for New York Cosmos and Santos.

Who is the richest footballer in the world?

Lionel Messi is the richest footballer in the world. Here are the top 18 highest-paid football/soccer players in the world.

Who is the King of football in 2022?

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema checks every box required to win the Ballon d’Or in 2022. According to our methodology, he will be the King of football in 2022.

Which incident shows Pelé’s influence as an international star?

One such surprising incident happened in 1967 when Pelé’s club team arrived in Nigeria. It was during the Civil War, yet a 48-hour cease-fire was announced so that all could watch him play.

Who was Pelé’s mentor?

João Ramos do Nascimento, Pelé ‘s father, was his trainer and mentor.

Has Pelé’s autobiography been written?

Yes. It is called Pelé’s: The Autobiography and showcases the amazing journey of the player.