• Friday, September 29, 2023
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In memoriam: Pelé’s visit to Nigeria and other things he will be remembered for

In memoriam: Pelé’s visit to Nigeria and other things he will be remembered for

The late soccer legend Pelé, believed to have engineered a ceasefire during the 1967–1970 Nigerian civil war, passed away on Thursday after a battle with cancer and multiple death rumours.

The legend, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, travelled to Nigeria in January 1969 to play friendly matches with the Super Eagles, who were then known as the Green Eagles, alongside his Brazilian club Santos.

Due to the great footballer’s charisma, the warring parties — Nigeria and Biafra — decided to put a 48-hour halt to hostilities so they could watch the friendly matches, which were played in Lagos and Benin, respectively.

Apart from his peace-brokering visit to Nigeria, here are other things the great Pelé will be remembered for.

Goals scoring prowess

First, on the list is his prolificity when it comes to goals scoring. Pelé played with Santos from 1956 until 1974, making 605 matches and scoring 589 goals. He played with the New York Cosmos from 1975 to 1977, making 64 games and scoring 37 goals. He played for XI Classic from 1978 to 1980 before retiring.

Three World Cup wins

In addition to that, the late Brazilian sensation lifted three World Cup trophies. Pele played in four World Cups with Brazil’s Seleço Canarinho (1958, 1962, 1966, and 1970) and won three of them (1958, 1962, and 1970), making him the player with the most trophies.

The next achievement in numbers is the striker’s total World Cup goals. Pele’s first of 12 World Cup goals came in the last eight against a powerful Wales team coached by John Charles in 1958. With 77 international goals scored in 92 appearances, he is Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer. Twelve of those goals came in 14 World Cup appearances, including four in 1970.

Read also: Pelé, Brazilian football legend dies at 82

On club goals, Pele represented more than just the World Cup. He won six Brazilian crowns, two Copa Libertadores trophies, and one North American Soccer League Bowl victory in 1977.

According to the Rec Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF) on total career goals, Pele’s attempt to net the ball- based on competitive matches only – was 767 goals in 831 games, while their aggregate (including unofficial games) tally differs from the others, putting the Brazilian at 1,284 strikes in 1,375 games.

Similarly, as documented by the Guinness Book of World Records, Pele scored 92 hat-tricks in football for Santos, NY Cosmos, and Brazil.