Pele’s rise to international fame is widely due to his marketing strategy and popularity with his “rags to riches” stories that spread like wildfires worldwide.
Talk about his 1,283 goals( so controversial) that is now estimated to be around 700 goals.
Talk about him winning 3 FIFA world cups, and many will tell you its still the media propaganda like his total number of goals.
In the real sense, he won only 2 world cups, the 1962 FIFA world cup saw him injured in the early stages and when the world thought Brazil can’t go far, Garrincha single handedly won Brazil that tournament- and made him Brazil’s most beloved footballer.
The case of Pele and Garrincha can be likened to Messi and Ronaldo- Messi has the skills and raw gift, CR7 has the media and publicity.
While Garrincha granted no interviews and is not a fan of the media, Pele was always in the media and this increases his popularity.
He would have amassed a billion followers in all social media were they present in his time.
But there goes Garrincha- a man who many still regarded as better than Pele.
Even in his native Brazil, Pele wasn’t the best; they will call Garrincha first and mention two other players before Pele’s name will pop out.
When you watch both play, you can’t deny the truth in the statement, Pele will pale in Garrincha’s shadow.
But internationally, Pele was beloved more than Garrincha, and its so sad that even when the GOAT in football is mentioned, the name Garrincha hardly or never comes up.
Pele’s myth has been challenged over again and even resulting to most people calling him a football fraud.
Well they have their reasons and the media also helped him excel.
In 1959, after the world cup, the brand Pele was the most recognized and famous in all of Europe only after coca-cola.
Think of it, a 1958 world cup where he wasn’t even the best player of the tournament- Didi was.
Ne even came to play only 3 matches of the copa mundial- scoring the winner in quarter finals, a semifinal hattrick and a brace in the finals.
But his fame was hyped and exalted that his club Santos capitalized on it touring the whole Europe in the 60s, and making Pele play 3–4 matches per week.
And in the 1962 world cup, he was no where to be found- Garrincha carried Brazil on his shoulders.
And when Garrincha wasn’t in 1966 world cup, Pele fell like a pack of cards casting a big doubt on Pele superstar status.
It will take a total and complete 1970 squad to win the world cup, which many still believed they will win a million times without Pele in it.
Diego Armando Maradona even questioned Pele’s kingship of football by saying that Pele’s flaws would have been seen had he played for the Italian and Spanish leagues like he, maradona did.
Now a lot of contemporcontemporaries are even calling Messi the GOAT and not Pele, if you ever watch both clips, you might accept it.
But I believe in 50 years from now, the name Pele might even be forgotten and our grandchildren who will watch with A.I, 10-D and virtual reality would frown at Pele’s GOAT status and only favor a Messi-ronaldo debate.