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Death of Pelé: “The footballer has built his own encyclopedia of technical inventions, absolutely incomparable”

Whatever the fiery discussions and debates, common sense teaches us that awarding the title of “best football player in history” is an impossible task, compromised from the start, since each era has its specificities and each juror has a limited point of view – which depends on the generation to which he belongs, but not only. Di Stefano better than Messi? Cruyff superior to Puskas? Maradona more awesome than Pelé?

The same common sense invites us to recognize that, even if this coronation enterprise is futile, the former jersey 10 of Santos and the Brazilian selection will have gathered enough assets to appear forever in posterity with the title of King of football which was attributed to him by the magazine Paris Match in 1958, when he was just 17 years old.

But we are in another register when we say of Pelé that he was the “best”. What turned Edson Arantes do Nascimento into the greatest legend in football history goes far beyond what he achieved on the pitch, although his main exploits have never been surpassed until today : more than 1,200 goals and three World Cup titles, the first having been obtained when he was a teenager, thanks to a magic goal, scored in the 1958 final after a fantastic dribble in a sombrero against the Swedish full-back , inside the penalty area.

Read also: The death of “King” Pelé, legend of world football

His style of play was also imbued with majesty. If he didn’t have the elegance of Beckenbauer, the juggling virtuosity of Maradona or the limpid precision of Messi, he took a bit of the best each had to build his own encyclopedia of technical inventions, an encyclopedia absolutely incomparable.

Black panther speed

He could be a real killer with his left foot, right foot or head, dribbling the defense to penetrate the opposing box or striking from a distance, avoiding collision like a snake with those who marked him or dragging them behind. him like a tractor. He had black panther speed, but he could also press his foot on the ball to make the game feel like the camera suddenly went into slow motion.

It was to this almost inconceivable technical fullness – a legacy of the demanding training to which he had been subjected during his childhood by his father, Dondinho, himself a player – that Pelé clung to when, once retired, he found himself forced to defending his title of king against the umpteenth pretender to the throne, which, obviously, was painful for him.

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