March 6, 2021

Pele, the thousand shouts of "O rei" goal

Ángel Cappa says that the penalty goals are not celebrated, but Pelé had many reasons to celebrate the one he scored on November 19, 1969 in Maracaná against Vasco de Gama. The game that faced the home team against Santos de Pelé was decisive for the Brazilian championship, but that was the least of the reasons for celebration. It was the 1,000th goal in the history of the Brazilian star and although it played out of its field the celebration was global. The photographers pounced on him when he was going to pick up the ball from the bottom of the goal and a multitude of Vasco fans jumped for it to offer him a jersey of his team with the number 1,000. The game was stopped 25 minutes by the invasion of the field and Edgardo Andrada, the Argentine who guarded the goal of Vasco, never felt more strange to his own fans.

"I felt alone against the world," the goalkeeper confessed a few years ago. «The noise was deafening. Even the Basque fans were against me, ”he added. Because Pele was from Santos, but above all, he was from Brazil. It was everyone's.

"For the first time in my career I felt really nervous," Pele acknowledged. «Andrada was in an excellent moment. He had never felt the same pressure; I was shaking. But I overcame. What an amazing feeling! The stadium collapsed".

Goal tears

The goal made everyone cry. Pele, of emotion. Andrada, of pure sadness. He did not want to go down in history as the goalkeeper to whom Pelé scored the 1,000th goal. Or he simply didn't want to go down in history because probably nobody would be writing about him now if he hadn't been at the goal at that time.

The figure of Pele is so immense that he enlarged his teammates and rivals. Others, like Garrincha, were left in the background despite being probably one of the most skilled and unpredictable players in history. But Pelé covers everything, so much so that his name became the last name of the two teams of his life, which became forever the Saints of Pelé and Brazil of Pelé.

«O Rei» was an advance in his time, a media figure who explored the ways of advertising and marketing. He was also the first to start counting his goals, although there is a lot of controversy about that. The official goals he scored in his career were "only" 757 divided between Santos (643), Brazil (77) and the US Cosmos (37), according to a study by the Argentine magazine "The Graphic". An equally scandalous figure, although not as striking as the 1,284 that he claims to have marked "O Rei" throughout his career. The rest turned them into friendly matches and even charitable exhibitions. The most curious count is that of the 14 goals he scored with the Brazilian army in a South American tournament that faced the security forces of several countries of the continent. A kind of military Copa America.

Even about their data, which reflect 1,284 goals, there are doubts. Guilherme Nascimento, a Brazilian football historian, published in 2013 a study with his research that recognizes him one more goal in his career. It would be 1,285 in total if the one who scored in January 1966 was counted in a friendly match against Santos against the Ivory Coast team. In the second part he played with the Costa Rican team and scored a goal, the only one that Pelé scored for Santos in his life, and that does not appear in the club's records because it was an exhibition match. That goal would also change the date of the 1,000th celebration, which would be five days earlier in Santos' victory against Botafogo and would have prevented Andrada's crying.

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