What if Brazil’s Pele Played for a European Club?

What if Brazil’s Pele Played for a European Club?

by November 27, 2020 0 comments

Pele is arguably the greatest footballer in history. He helped Brazil win three World Cups and is the national team’s all-time leading scorer. In his native Brazil, Pele is beyond a national hero.

Pele’s records and accomplishments are endless. Aside from representing his native Brazil in international competition, Pele’s club career was with Brazilian club Santos and a now-defunct American club, the New York Cosmos. However, as amazing as Pele’s career was, it’s often wondered why he never played in Europe.

Between 1958 and 1962, several big European clubs wanted him. According to Pele, he had offers from Manchester United, AC Milan, and Real Madrid. At one point, he was on the verge of joining Real Madrid. However, he would reject the offer claiming he was very content playing in Brazil. In 1975, he would finish out his career in the United States and retire in 1977. 

What if Pele Took His Talents to Europe?

There was a time where it was very rare for South American players to play in Europe. Quite frankly, it was unheard of. In Pele’s case, he could have set an example by showing that players from South America are capable of playing European football.

Furthermore, he surely could have impressed critics enough to become the first non-European player to win the Ballon d’Or. In addition, he would undoubtedly have won numerous domestic titles in European competition. Overall, he surely would have achieved great success in Europe.

Pele playing for a big European club would have made money for both Pele and the club. In addition, Pele would have made an impact on his teammates. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.

Honestly, what truly makes the situation interesting is that in 1961, the Brazilian government made Pele a national treasure. In fact, there was a law to prevent the striker from leaving the country. It seems that political chaos prevented Pele from playing outside of Brazil. Maybe he did have aspirations to play in Europe but due to the political situation in his country, he was forbidden from doing so.


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