Liverpool legend turned television pundit Jamie Carragher has labeled Brazilian football icon Pele a 'myth'. The 44-year-old has stated that he does not believe the three-time World Cup winner scored over 1000 goals in his career.
Ronaldo has now been officially crowned the all-time leading scorer in men’s football with 807 strikes to his name, surpassing Josef Bican’s tally of 805.
While Pele's goalscoring figures for Brazil are well-documented, his overall tally is disputed. In the era before broadcasting and the internet, it was not easy to keep track of a player's statistics. It was also not clear which games to regard as official.
As a result, fans get to see contradictory statistics of the 81-year-old across the internet. Jamie Carragher has claimed that he does not understand what to believe regarding the actual figures of the Brazilian. Gary Neville asked Carragher on Monday Night Football:
"This Pele figure - you’ve got a theory on that haven’t you?"
“I mentioned something in the meeting today. I said Pele’s a bit of a myth - I’m not having this 1,000 goals. So that went down well, calling Pele a myth."
According to ESPN, the former Santos star scored a total of 757 goals in his career while Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation has his tally at 775.
Pele himself claimed that he scored more than 1000 goals in his career. In 2013, he made it into the Guinness World Record books for scoring the most goals in the history of the game, with a tally of 1279.
Meanwhile, world governing body FIFA and South American football confederation CONMEBOL believe that the 81-year-old scored a total of 1281 goals.
Regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time, Pele remains the only footballer to lift the World Cup thrice. The iconic forward played a total of 92 games for Brazil, having netted 77 times in the process. He helped his side win the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Pele's goalscoring figures continue to divide opinion
There is no debate that the Brazilian remains one of the finest footballers of all time, if not the absolute best. However, the confusion regarding his actual figures continues.
For instance, back in January of 2021, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 758th career goal when he found the back of the net for Juventus against Udinese.
The strike saw him climb ahead of Pele in the 'official' all-time goalscoring charts. However, it was soon seen that the Brazilian legend had updated his Instagram bio claiming that he is the all-time record scorer.
As per his undated bio, the former Santos striker scored a total of 1283 goals, a dramatic rise from his previous tally of 757.