There are constant debates about who is one of the best soccer players of all time.
Every fan has their favorite. Some older supporters believe the likes of George Best or Diego Maradona were the greatest to ever play the game.
Newer fans swear by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. There may even be Premier League fans who put someone like Mohamed Salah up there as a possible “G.O.A.T.”
However, there can only be one best ever soccer player, and that honor belongs to Pele. The Brazilian is widely seen by experts as the best to ever have played the game.
Below are the top five goals that Pele scored during his illustrious career.
1. Brazil vs. Italy in 1970
When you think about teams that play free-flowing, attacking soccer, you are inevitably thinking about Brazil in 1970. Winning a World Cup is hard, but doing it while scoring goals for fun is even more difficult. Brazil made it look easy against some of the best players in the world in 1970, and Pele was their superstar in that tournament.
Pele’s goal against Italy in 1970 is one that fans can never forget, as he gets onto the end of a cross from his teammate with a massive leap. He jumps over the Italian defenders as if they are not even present, while they were some of the best at their profession, and scores past their helpless goalkeeper to give his team the lead.
2. Brazil vs. Romania in 1970
There is no question that Pele outdid himself in the World Cup of 1970. While he had many great seasons, both at a club and international level, he was at his peak in this tournament, and it shows on this list of goals.
The free kick he scored against Romania is one that fans will still replay on YouTube or any other place where they can find the video. He puts the ball down on the edge of the penalty area, sets himself up to take the free kick, and blasts it with the outside of his foot into the net past a goalkeeper who can do nothing about the shot.
3. Santos vs. Benfica in 1962
When you watch a replay of Pele scoring for Santos against Benfica in 1962, you have to see it in black and white. Such a replay might make you think that you are watching something not worthwhile, but the opposite is the case.
Pele’s goal against Benfica is one of the best you will ever watch. When you see him taking the ball the first time, taking a touch to beat one defender, and then storming into the box to smash the ball into the net, you understand the dynamism of this great player.
Pele was impossible to defend for so many years, and this goal shows why he was such a nightmare for defenders.
4. Sweden vs. Brazil in 1958
Pele’s goal for Brazil against Sweden in 1958 is one that stunned the entire crowd at the time. Pele gets the ball inside the penalty area, outjumps a defender to chest the ball, and then clips it over the head of another defender, before coolly slotting it past the goalkeeper.
Such a goal is one that any great player from any era would find worthwhile to score. Even the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who are considered the modern greats, would see such a goal as one of the best they could ever score.
5. Santos vs. Atletico Juventus in 1959
When you ask Pele about the goal that was his best ever, he often talks about the goal he scored for Santos against Athletico Juventus in 1959. One of the downsides is that no footage of this goal exists, which is why we have to rely on the memory of those who were there to witness the game.
Pele was 18 at the time, and he controlled a cross that came into him from the wing. He then lifts the ball over three defenders who were all helpless, does not let the ball touch the ground the entire time, and then slots it into the empty net.
Pele – Footballing Legend
One of the reasons why Pele does not get as much love and affection as some other players is because of his age. Most modern soccer fans have their own idea about who is the best ever.
Perhaps they grew up towards the end of Diego Maradona’s career, or they saw the likes of Ronaldinho and Ronaldo lift the World Cup for Brazil. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi certainly took goal scoring to new heights during their prime, and they are still going strong.
While each of those players may have a claim to being seen as the best ever, none can hold a candle to the achievements of Pele. The Brazilian superstar won the Brazilian league championship six times, the Copa Libertadores twice, the Intercontinental Cup twice, and the Intercontinental Supercup.
Most importantly, Pele was one of the best goalscorers for a Brazilian team that won three World Cup titles. The World Cup is the pinnacle of the sport, and there is no doubt that a player who can lead his team to such glory is one of the best to ever put on the shirt.
Pele won the World Cup in 1958, 1962, and 1970, playing vital roles for his team in each of those tournaments. There may be other top players who play the game, but very few are going to ever leave with a reputation as great as Pele’s.
The above rundown of his top five goals shows why he is considered the greatest of all time.