Football legend, and in some quarters, the greatest footballer of all times, Pele has revealed that he almost featured in the EPL and La Liga, as he had great and attractive offers from Manchester United and Real Madrid during his hay days. But he turned both of them and several other big European clubs down, as his philosophy during his playing days was “loyalty above money”, a character he bemoaned to be missing in the 21st century current crop of players.
The striker who officially had more than 750 goals for both country and club chose to spend his whole playing career time in Brazil, pitching his tent with famous clubside, Santos. Of his decision to decline offers from the likes of United he says,
“I had many offers to play for Real Madrid, in Milan and Manchester United. However Santos was doing well, I was playing well. I didn’t want to leave. Nowadays, players leave very early. Nowadays, they play for the country and club that pays the most. You don’t have that loyalty.”
Many have continued to wonder if Pele would have made exploits in Europe if he moved, and debates of whom was greater between him and Maradona continue to rage on. Maradona however left South America to ply his trade in Spain and Italy, and he is more popular amongst current football fans than Pele. Pele holds the record for most goals for a country and club, netting 77 goals in 92 games for the Samba boys and scoring over 600 for Santos. Would he have scored that much if he played at the Old Trafford? We would never have known.