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Benjamin Sire: “Why no one will ever surpass Pelé”


FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE - The Brazilian, planetary star of the round ball, died at the age of 82. For the journalist and composer, the "king of football" was an anachronistic miracle, whether in terms of his technique, his physique, his relaxation, and his sense of the game.

Benjamin Sire is a journalist and composer.

He collaborates in particular with the weekly Franc-Tireur.

He notably worked in football.

Times are tough for legends.

As if the gods of football had decided to sweep up history to make the red carpet now unrolled in the footsteps of the omnistar Mbappé free of fingerprints.

Maradona died just two years ago, Messi has just known his final coronation with mothballs, making each of his steps tomorrow a bonus to amplify his exploits of yesterday.

As for Cristiano Ronaldo, he grumbles about his bad choices downgrading him on the scale of the giants, where his presence is however indisputable.

Only one remained.

The greatest, the most untouchable, Pelé, who died yesterday following a long fight against the inevitable.

The one who came very close in terms of football to becoming a common name, as Fangio was the name assimilated to the


Do you take yourself for Fangio?

, they say to the clumsy driver, to the sole of lead.

"So this one isn't Pelé!"

, they say of the player whose annals will go well.

Passing from the proper noun to the common noun, like a Mozart, is the greatest gift of posterity.

And King Pelé achieved the feat in his lifetime.

But concerning him, the thing goes further.

It is no coincidence that, shortly before taking his last breath, he insisted on dubbing Mbappé as being of his caliber, seeing in him his only worthy successor, when so many immense football artists followed one another to his bedside table, like the contenders for Cinderella's shoes who tried to appease the sovereign of the tale with their unsuitable sizes.

Pelé was not a footballer of his time, or even of the decade following him.

All the magic is there.

Benjamin Sir

Why is Pelé, was and will be for a long time above all?

We will look lazily at the feat accomplished by no one else.

Three World Cups won as a player.

In fact, only two.

His presence in 1962 brought him back to the role of extra by the bad grace of a groin injury, due to a match against Czechoslovakia in hens, having also ended in a sad draw without goals.

It doesn't matter since the forgotten Amarildo will do the job for him, well helped by the masters Garrincha and Vavá.

It is nevertheless enormous and yet insufficient to become Pelé, the unique, the only Pelé.

We will then cling to the legend of the 1281 goals scored in his career.

Bullshit, since there were then the most unworthy exhibitions, the rounds of fairs, the too friendly friends,

and consecrations of convenience, in addition to keeping accounts with some negligence.

On this scale, the 720 goals of Gerd Müller, the 804 of Messi, the 819 of Cristiano Ronaldo, weigh much more with regard to the type of match during which they were registered.

Read alsoMessi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Mbappé, Deschamps, Platini, Zidane... the greatest footballers pay tribute to "King" Pelé

Could it then be Santos' loyalty to the club, a romantic attachment only broken by the two years of exhibition at the nascent Cosmos in New York (1975-1977), where he ended his career by being upstaged by the fiery Italian Giorgio Chinaglia and his 242 goals in 254 games, a crazy statistic but only decorating the dustbins of history.

Always not.

Otherwise, Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Francesco Totti, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol and so many others would surpass him.

Is it the accumulation of these qualities that make what is already his memory hover above a elite yet so well endowed with talent?

In part certainly, but it is not fully that.

So what ?

Already immortal during his lifetime, more sanctified now extinct, his ghost seems destined to accompany another phenomenon with improbable skills: Kylian Mbappe

Benjamin Sir

So the anachronism, yes the anachronism.

Pelé was not a footballer of his time, or even of the decade following him.

All the magic is there.

Now imagine a battlefield from Napoleonic times or any earlier era.

See these little soldiers in their colorful costumes, going to the battlefield in good order, with fixed bayonets and punctuating their steps to the sound of the drum, and seeing suddenly appear in front of them 21st century assault tanks covered , according to the wish, by Rafale planes or American F35!

Imagine the amazement of the combatants, their morbid admiration and their renunciation.

That was Pelé arriving on the meadow.

A worthy opponent for Zidane, Ronaldo, Eto'o, Messi and others.

Not for such monstrous players of his time as Rahn,

Read alsoFor Mbappé, the legacy of Pelé “will never be forgotten”

Pelé was the first player to combine the qualities of the modern athlete, overtrained, sharpened like a statue, and that of the technician capable of considering in order of appearance the Cruyff turn of the great Johann, the Redondo of Fernando , the pivot of Bergkamp, ​​the Espaldinha of Ronaldinho or the roulette of Zidane (of which our national hero was not however the inventor).

His technique was 20 years ahead, his physique was shaped by our current trainers, his center of gravity a blessing, his relaxation an anomaly, especially since he was no taller than sixty-three.

Add to his sense of the game, his peripheral vision giving him that famous time in advance which graced Platini, he was unplayable for his time, yet not devoid of goldsmiths of the ball.

The rest, including the Ministry of Sports, finally accepted with a bad grace after so many requests, in 1995, is only anecdote.

Unlike Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Zidane and others (from whom decency makes us subtract the poor coach Maradona), he did not know how to make the legend bear fruit as a coach, contenting himself until yesterday with the role of icon, for the better , stooges, for the worse.

But so his name has survived the decades.

Synonymous with football, already immortal during his lifetime, more sanctified now extinct, his ghost seems destined to accompany another phenomenon with improbable skills, the one he had dubbed before turning his back on us: Kylian Mbappé.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-12-30

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