Pele is widely regarded as one of the best footballers to have ever played the game – if not the best.
He is still the only man to have won three World Cups and still holds the record for youngest player to feature in a final aged just 17.
The 78-year-old’s goal tally is the greatest in history with more than 1200 to his name, if you believe the man himself.
His playing career was restricted to Brazil and America so his mystique and reputation always grew as not many had the chance to see him play compared to the modern day footballer.
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Pele has been known in his latter years to make some outlandish and weird claims, though, that range from the bizarre to the ridiculous.
This week he issued one such claim on Twitter suggesting he had to leave an Elton John concert after being pointed out by the Watford honorary life president.
Happy birthday to Sir Elton John. I went to watch him live once. He pointed me out and I had to leave before the crowds got too big! // Feliz Aniversário, @EltonOfficial. Quando fui a um show dele, e ele apontou para mim, tive que sair antes que a multidão não ficasse grande. pic.twitter.com/tIN9SZ461f
It’s one of many so here are some of the best of those claims.
Messi has ‘one skill’ and he was better
The three-time World Cup winner criticised Lionel Messi in October last year by saying he is one-footed and can’t be compared to him.
“How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and doesn’t head the ball well?” he told Folha de Sao Paulo.
Neymar is an ordinary footballer
Back in 2013, Pele was not a fan of Neymar and launched a scathing attack on the forward for under-performing.
“For the national team, he’s just an ordinary player,” Pele told O Estado de Sao Paulo.
“He’s got a huge responsibility and his greatest concern is to change his style, change his haircut.”
His opinions do seem to have changed over time and he claimed last year that Neymar was better than Messi and Ronaldo.
The crying goalkeeper
Once, in a match in Senegal, the goalkeeper cried so much after I scored that he had to be substituted! He had lost a big bet! // Em uma partida em Senegal, eu lembro que o goleiro chorou tanto depois do gol que ele teve que ser substituído. Ele perdeu uma grande aposta! pic.twitter.com/OXjeg8ApIj
When Sepp Blatter was up for a fifth term as Fifa president in 2015, Pele gave him his backing.
His reasoning was that he was the candidate with the most experience despite crisis engulfing the organisation.
He said: “I was in favour. It was necessary because it is better to have people with experience. He’s a man who has been there for 25 years, you have to respect him, it was an election.”
Pele’s claimed goal tally
The 78-year-old claims to have scored 1283 goals during his career but Fifa only recognises 784 of them.
The other 526 came in unofficial friendlies and tour games.
In comparison, Messi has a total of 677 goals for club and country during his career.
The referee who sent himself off
I once got sent off in a game against Colombia. The decision was so unpopular with the crowd that the referee then sent himself off! // Certa vez eu joguei contra a Colômbia e o árbitro me expulsou. A decisão foi tão impopular com a torcida que ele também teve que sair de campo! pic.twitter.com/KaR5CyDZfJ
When it’s good, it’s great to be a supporter. Everything just clicks on the pitch and it’s clear to see the chemistry on display.
However, with player power taking full effect in modern football, it seems loyalty and devotion are two traits you would be hard-pressed to find at clubs these days.
For instance, West Ham United fans felt like they were in an East End soap opera when Dimitri Payet controversially swapped Stratford for the south of France and returned to Marseille in 2017.
And who could forget last summer when football was DEFINITELY coming home, until Mario Mandzukic broke English hearts everywhere with his extra time winner in the World Cup semi-final.
So if you’re feeling alone and bitter on Valentine’s Day, cheer yourself by having a look at some of the most brutal and public break ups in the history of football.
SIR ALEX GIVES BECKS THE BOOT (2003)
In Goldenballs’ final season at Old Trafford, flirtations with a move to sunny Spain had persisted throughout the year. Demanding Fergie was disappointed his formerly prodigious talent had transformed into a prima donna, with his application levels dropping.
The United boss took particular offence after one poor performance and kicked a boot in the dressing room towards the midfielder, striking him above the eye.
Rather than play down rumours of a rift, the England captain wore an Alice band in front of members of the paparazzi and the news was everywhere.
At this point, the father-son type relationship between the two was tarnished and Becks was shipped off to Real Madrid with Cristiano Ronaldo inheriting his position and his shirt number.
BARMBY THE BLUENOSE (2000)
Watching your ex leave you for your best mate is possibly the bitterest pill to swallow. Crossing Stanley Park to swap Blue for Red is actually a bit like that.
In 2000, Nick Barmby left critics up and down the country questioning if the England international was either brave or stupid. The former Tottenham star became the first player since 1959 to leave Everton for Liverpool when he joined the Reds for £6million.
To make matters worse for the Toffees, the midfielder notched his first goal for the club against his former employees.
The picture above shows just how happy Barmby was with himself.
THE NOT-SO SPECIAL ONE (2015)
No matter how lonely you feel this month, just remember to never go back to a toxic relationship – just ask Mourinho.
The Special One promised he was more mature, more level-headed when he arrived back at the Bridge.
However, despite securing a Premier League title, the Portuguese left Chelsea on very bad terms.
In the picture above, you can see his disbelief as Hazard limps off and refuses to play against Leicester in what was the final straw for Roman Abramovich. Mourinho was sacked shortly after, and you can almost see the exact moment his heart breaks.
FICKLE FIGO (2000)
It must have been the in-thing at the turn of the Millennium to really irritate your current club by signing for their rivals.
We’ve saved this one for later purely for the sheer vitriol which was aimed at the Portugal international. Figo was one of the best in the world at this point, but shocked the world by signing for Barca’s bitter rivals Real in a world-record £37million move.
Upon his return to the Camp Nou, Figo experienced banners, burning effigies, and was even hit with a stray pig head while attempting to take a corner.
WELCOME TO MANCHESTER (2009)
What is it with footballers leaving for rival clubs, have they no heart?
Carlos Tevez arrived in England somewhat controversially in 2006 with West Ham.
His undoubted talent earned him a move to Premier League champions Manchester United at the end of the season, yet controversy remained. Issues about ownership persisted and Tevez only signed on a loan deal for the Red Devils.
City, in an attempt to establish themselves and annoy United in equal measure, signed Tevez permanently in 2009 and put THAT advertising board up in Manchester city centre.
Former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri rocked up at the King Power Stadium and failed to allay any fears the Foxes could beat the drop, having only just survived the previous season.
To win the Premier League title was not even a vague possibility, but against all odds Ranieri did it. The 5,000-1 dream was achieved and Ranieri was a hero.
Fast-forward six months and the Italian had been sacked after rumours the players did not want to play for him and the dream was over. A sorry end to one of football’s greatest fairytales.
We’re not crying, you are.
RIO THE RED (2002)
Rio Ferdinand was the golden boy of English football after breaking onto the scene as a youngster with West Ham. He made a big money move to Leeds United in 2000 to become the most expensive Englishman ever.
However, when he broke the record again the move was met with much more controversy. Moving from Yorkshire to Lancashire was always likely to incite hatred, especially given the success of Eric Cantona wearing red as opposed to white.
When Ferdinand returned to Elland Road, the supporters who so passionately adored their former boy wonder turned on the England international with furious anger. He never let it bother him however, and did fairly well at Old Trafford in the end.
MOUR MONEY, MOUR PROBLEMS (2018)
When Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United to play under Jose Mourinho in 2016, the entire footballing world sat up and took notice. After speaking to team-mates about Mourinho, the France international was sold saying: “He gave me energy, he gave me positivity. They all told me he’s the coach for me – he will make me improve a lot and make me work harder.”
But a series of public and private spats saw the relationship deteriorate and, as Mourinho’s fateful spell as United boss came to an end, the Portuguese delivered his final withering verdict on the man he spent £89million on.
Costa arrived at Chelsea and was an instant success. His snarling, bullying style of play may have earned him few admirers; but he endeared himself to Blues fans straight away.
After winning the Premier League in his first season, Costa dipped off in his second season. However, a return to form in 2017 saw the title head back to west London.
But all was not well as Costa angrily demanded an Atletico Madrid homecoming.
Costa has had a mixed time under former boss Diego Simeone once again, while Chelsea fans are still searching for Alvaro Moratas receipt.
SOL SELLS HIS SOUL (2001)
A home-grown hero for Tottenham, the dominating centre-half was adored at White Hart Lane, a shining light in hard times.
His imperious defensive displays saw many of Europe’s finest fluttering their eyelids towards him but he insisted he would remain and sign on the dotted line. But he didn’t.
And while AC Milan and Manchester United (among many others) courted him, it was Spurs’ fierce rivals Arsenal where he moved to on a free transfer. It was a betrayal of the worst kind and will never be forgotten in north London.
Well, asking any one of this lot is a good start. Each one of these players made the unpopular decision to leave either in controversial circumstances or to play for a hated rival.
Below are 11 deals that have seen plenty of anger spill out from the stands at various football grounds, including Glasgow, London as well as Florence over the years and here, talkSPORT.com ranks them by the despair caused by their transfers, kicking off with Alan Smith leaving Leeds United for Manchester United.
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