The secrets behind Pelé’s 1,000th goal: the arranged friendly, a revealing confession and the true number

The Wednesday, November 19, 1969 at 11:23 p.m.Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, supported the ball on the penalty spot at the Maracana stadium. In front of 65,157 spectators, the Santos footballer faced the Argentine goalkeeper Edgardo Norberto Andrada. “There I began to tremble and I said to myself: I cannot fail it. When I looked back, the players (of Santos) were all in the middle of the field and I thought: “And if the ball hits the post or the goalkeeper rejects it. There was no one from our team ‘”, he recalled some time ago before the agency EFE. Then he started a five-step run, which with a ‘paradinha’ included, ended with a shot with the inside face of his right foot that placed the ball against a post and meant the thousandth goal of his career.

It was in a match between Vasco da Gama and the visiting Santos, corresponding to the Roberto Gomes Pedrosa tournament, equivalent to the current Brasileirao, and which ended with a 2-1 victory for the visitor. The local had gone ahead after 16 minutes, although after 55, the fish tied the match. At 78, Clodoaldo touched deep for Pelé, who was brought down by defender Fernando entering the box. Referee Manoel Amaro de Lima did not hesitate to award a penalty, which provoked protests from the Vasco players and delayed the launch.

“I was close to the play and I calmly whistled a penalty. If I had to do it again today, I would do it because I did it with total honesty. But I admit that I was looking forward to going down in history as the referee who conceded Pelé’s 1,000th goal”, years later the judge of that meeting in dialogue with the Spanish program maldini fever. It is that the second half of the game was already being played and the striker, who was 29 years old at the time, had already had some situations and had squandered them. Regarding that controversial action, Pelé himself confessed that the offense was, at least, doubtful, in an interview with the magazine see: “If there had been VAR (video arbitration), I don’t know if it would be criminal”.

After the goal, the Brazilian went straight to look for the ball, kissed it and within seconds was surrounded by a crowd of journalists and reporters who entered the field. So much was the madness that it took 25 minutes to resume the game. “I don’t want parties. Believe that for me it is much more important to help poor children, those in need. Let’s first think about Christmas for all these people”, said Pelé in his first statements after scoring the goal.

Years later, in an interview with the magazine seeHe assured that those words were due to an event that had previously caught his attention in the streets of Santos. “Days before, in Santos, I saw some boys trying to steal some cars. I told them: ‘what are you guys doing?’ They tried to justify themselves, saying that they were doing it only with vehicles from Sao Paulo. I said they couldn’t rob anyone. The boys were not scared. How can it be? This is why my message in goal 1,000 ”, he explained.

The most curious fact is that Pelé planned to reach the three zeros in the Maracana. It is that two weeks before, in Recife, he had scored two goals against Santa Cruz and totaled 998 celebrations. Taking advantage of his presence in the northeast region, a friendly was organized at the last minute 48 hours later in Joao Pessoa, against Botafogo from Paraíba. Pelé scored his 999th goal there and later dressed as a goalkeeperthinking about the match that Santos would play in Salvador against Bahia, on November 16.

“I didn’t want to displease the Bahians, who were waiting for me for an official match, so I stopped kicking for goal. I was afraid that the Botafogo players would move away from the ball to let it go into goal”, he explained oh king. Without seeing the score against Bahia, Pelé’s big night ended up being three days later in Rio de Janeiro.

Did he really score a thousand goals?

The former striker who won three World Cups and is considered one of the best footballers in history claims to have scored 1,284 goals in 1,367 games. But the data reflects another reality. According to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) Pele scored 541 goals in 560 games league officials with Santos and Cosmos, that is, without counting friendlies or commitments with the Brazilian team.

In turn, scholars and analysts could not conclude years later if Pelé’s true 1,000th goal was in Recife or in Joao Pessoa (there are discrepancies). On the other hand, an investigation by the journalist Martin Estevez published in the Argentine magazine The graphic in 2012 he added another answer. Taking into account national and international tournaments of the only two clubs in which he played and adding matches with the national team both in official matches and in friendlies against other major teams, the Brazilian adds 757 shouts. Apparently, to arrive at the figure oh king It also adds some unofficial tournaments played, including, with the shirt of other teams. The article marks that there are 446 that were converted in friendlies and pre-season matches with Santos and 26 with the Cosmos.

The other 55 are hard to believe: 9 in a team from the state of São Paulo, 6 in a team created between the figures of Santos and Vasco da Gama, 18 in exhibitions for the Brazilian national team, 3 in the São Paulo Athletes Union, 5 in benefit matches and 14 in the brazilian army team during a South American tournament between the security forces of various countries that featured some guest stars.

Keep reading:

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