Pele, dead at 82, humbly transformed the sport of soccer | NBC Sports

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Danny Higginbotham reflects on Pele’s unique impact on the game of soccer after the legend’s death at the age of 82. #NBCSports #Pele
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Pele, dead at 82, humbly transformed the sport of soccer | NBC Sports


34 thoughts on “Pele, dead at 82, humbly transformed the sport of soccer | NBC Sports

  1. I mean I get it, everyone's saying he's "one of" the greatest simply because they'll put the likes of Maradona, Ronaldo, Messi, and others in his category but I simply think it is stupid because there'll always be a player that will become one of the greatest in every generation, but get this and get it clear: Pelé DID IT FIRST!

    He did it when barriers to being a black person were highlighted!

    He did it when the ball used to play was a hard rock!

    He did it when money wasn't in the picture to Impact the advantages of being a good soccer player!

    He did it when it was okay to kick a player and still not commit a foul

    He did when the motive to play soccer wasn't as high as it is

    I could go on and on about the wall he had to hit through to become the Greatest of all time, Don't even get me started on his records because no one will ever possess 3 world cups and even in 12 years?! NO! I mean if Messi winning the world cup settles the battle between him and Ronaldo! What then does it mean for Pelé to win it 3 times!

    Pelé is the Greatest Of All Time! (the first)

    And the rest are just "One Of" (the followers)


  2. Pelé global heritage..Pelé and Ayrton Senna will always be in the hearts of Brazilians and the world.two legends of Brazil 😢😔😭

  3. Pele's influence on the game is so wide spread, Yellow and red cards were introduced to stop players hacking Pele down and tackling him as they do in rugby or American football when it came to a point that he refused to play international football anymore to avoid the violence against people practiced with impunity and no interest in the touching the ball. When a player is shown a yellow or red card or a referee takes out a card, Pele's footprint and influence on the game is being witnessed. When you talk of number of goals he scored you are not including the number of goals that were disallowed which were perfectly fine that should be added to that list and which are so obviously goals, and how many more goals would have taken place if he was not hacked down with impunity and no interest in the ball just before he took his shot to score. Without this his records would have been extended even further. 126 goals in a season!! You can compare Pele with players today despite the period difference because everything he did then would have worked now against present defenders as the same skills are being used against them now and it is the same skills against defenders still working now and the conditions were much harder in that time with the ball, the shoes, the ground and the having to deal with being hacked down blatantly with no sending off or cards. It's an insult to ever say 'Pele was arguably the greatest player' or 'one of the greatest players' (as Lineker likes to say), because forget football, there is not a sportsman in history that has ever been so influential to a sport. He affected the game, not only in the standards he set and records he achieved which still to this day half a century later have not been unachieved by anybody else who has played the game, but also in how the game should be played by him doing everything every other football player has ever done since in a recorded football match. It's astonishing how he managed to do and cover everything and every skill outside goal keeping, and you cannot find another football player that can make this claim even today however great people may say that football player is. Pele's standards for the game were such that he did not just take attacking play to the highest level an attacker can take it, but he participated in defensive play and tackling to levels even the best defenders today would be proud of which is something that even today is unheard of for any attacking player. That is what his standard for what a great football player is and a standard the future of football aspires to reach, but it is a standard others cannot even dream of achieving today and so standards are diminished or dropped to what is achievable for others so they too can be called great. Even with this compromise his standards are still too high for others when he says that to be great you must be great at everything to do with the ball, for example 1) your ability to use both feet as good as the other and to the greatest ability including, controlling the ball and shooting near or long range (just as is expected of a great pianist to use both hands as good as the other), 2) heading the ball to the greatest ability, be you controlling it or attacking the ball in various ways such as jumping, diving or standing still when heading the ball, 3) dribbling to the greatest ability past one player, through a crowd of players in close proximity or running at speed dribbling past dispersed players, 4) passing to the greatest ability, to create assists, accurate short and long passes, 5) tackling to the greatest ability, 6) acrobatic achievements such as bicycle kicks to solve difficult challenges, and so on. These are the standards that brought Pele 3 world cups as one of the great records he achieved that have proved almost unbreakable. But here again standards are dropped and diminished because these are standards expected in one player only he could achieve and do so to the greatest ability. Indeed Pele showed us the future of football and what is achievable for a player to become and though it has been great and taken football to great heights following him as he led by example, there is still the dream that one day we can see a football match where every football player on the pitch bares the standards set by Pele and we will no longer have to lower the bar or diminish or drop standards on what a great football player is or can achieve. That is the dream and that is Pele's dream. What a crazy football match that will one day be. Pele taught us the beautiful game and we are still learning to make it as beautiful as he dreamed it could be, but he has also shown us a football dream we hope one day can be achieved. It's like he is colour television and we are all still playing in Black and White. He is football and he is the dream. The greatest football player ever and of all time without a question. No one is equal, better or greater, not even close. When other players retire, it's over, but Pele and his influence on the game and every player that plays in lives on and shines after every whistle is blown to start a match. Thank you God for the gift that was Pele. Rest in peace. Peace and love

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