No messing around with Pele’s records!
By S S Shreekumar | ENS | Published: 14th November 2012 10:30 AM |
Having surpassed Pele’s
career-best tally of most goals in a calendar year, Lionel Messi is now nine goals
away from German legend Gerd Muller’s record of 85 goals in a year.
With a month and a half to go for 2012 to close, the Agentine Messi might well break Muller’s record too.
In terms of sheer numbers, Messi can be talked off in the same breath.
But in reality, can Messi ever be compared to either Pele or Muller? Considering various factors, the answer can only be an emphatic ‘no’.
Pele scored 75 goals for Brazil and Santos in 1958 in just 53 matches, making his senior team debut on Sept 7, 1956 at the age of 15 against Corinthians of Santo Andre.
He scored the first of his record 1281 goals in football history during that game.
When the 1957 season started, Pele was given a starting place and, at the age of 16, became the topscorer in the league. Pele’s record of 75 goals in a year came in only his second professional season. Muller was 27 and an established star when he got those 86 goals in 1972 in only 60 games.
In comparison, Messi made his Barcelona debut in 2003-04, aged 17. Into his 9th season with the club, the 25-year old has scored 76 goals this year. Despite his boyish looks, Messi has a little more than six to seven years of top-flight football left in him.
As such, his record effort comes after a long stint in the league and almost more than half way into retirement.
Muller too achieved that feat at a juncture similar to Messi’s. But Pele was as fresh as a daisy when he burst on to the scene in 1958 and notched that incredible feat of 75 goals as a 17-year-old boy.
More importantly, Pele scored as many as six goals, one in the quarter-final against Wales, three in the semi-finals against France and two in the final against Sweden and starred in Brazil’s stunning World Cup victory in 1958.
He scored a total of nine goals for Brazil that year. Consequently, Pele’s effort is a more remarkable achievement.Muller too did the star turn for the then West Germany in 1972.
He scored two goals in the final against the Soviet Union and enabled them to win the European Cup. In 1974, Muller also scored the winner for West Germany in the final as they won the World Cup defeating Netherlands 2-1 at the end of an epic battle in Munich. Messi has no such efforts to show for all his records at Barcelona.
Messi has scored his 76 goals in 59 appearances with 64 of his tally coming for the club. Thus he has scored 12 goals for Argentina but is yet to guide them to a major soccer title. He did play his part in Argentina winning the Olympic Games soccer gold in 2008 in Beijing. Butthat is essentially an amateur tournament with only three professionals above 25 permitted. Until Messi shines for Argentina and guides them to victory in the Copa America tournament or the World Cup, his greatness can never be measured, much less compared with two World Cup stars and winners too.
One thing is certain, Pele’s records cannot be messed around with by anyone - even Muller or Messi.