Pelé vs Maradona: Who won the most titles and what are the records?
The rivalry between legendary footballers Pelé and Maradona is one of the most remarkable throughout history. These two figures shaped the sport of soccer.
There are not many rivalries among soccer players that have gone down in the history of the sport. Despite the fact that soccer currently presents ‘superstars’ who are seen to dominate the ball, there are few privileged people whose names are included in debates on who has been the better player throughout their career.
Within these rivalries, the most highlighted has always been the one between Pelé and Diego Maradona. Two players who, in their own way, stood out above everyone and changed the course of how the sport is played.
Brazil vs. Argentina
The competition between the two is not only a comparison between players who ended up being football legends- it also highlighted the rivalry between the two South American countries that have been most important for the sport: Brazil and Argentina.
It should be noted that in 2000, both figures were awarded by FIFA as Player of the Century: something that, in the context of a great debate about who was better, served to calm the waters as it did not put one above the other.
Pelé: King of the World Cup
In the recently held World Cup in Qatar, both their countries had great success. O Rei, however, is the player who holds the record for the most wins in this tournament. Pelé managed to raise three World Cup trophies with Brazil, finishing with victories in Sweden 1958, Chile 1962 and Mexico 1970.
Maradona won one World Cup throughout his career, although behind him there is a memorable performance in Mexico 1986.
While Pelé played with the national team a total of 91 games with 77 goals behind him, Maradona scored a total of 34 goals in 90 games played with the Albiceleste (Transfermarkt data).
Pele vs. Maradon: Club careers
At the club level, the paths of the two players were very different. Pelé was an icon in South American football for much of his career, being the biggest star of Santos and later briefly joining New York Cosmos in the United States.
Maradona played a lot of football in Argentina, with Boca Juniors (in addition to Argentinos JRS and Newell’s), but he also traveled to Europe to try out Napoli, Barcelona and Seville. In these terms, the 14 championships won by each with clubs and teams put them on equal footing.
It must be clarified that the ages of both players were not the same, nor were they even close. While Pelé was born in 1940, Maradona’s birthday was in 1960. A considerable difference of 20 years that has forever left the unanswered question in soccer fans’ minds: “What if they had played at the same time?”
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