In a recent interview (reported by the Metro), the Santos legend revealed that he received offers on numerous occasions from the Red Devils, as well as European giants Real Madrid and AC Milan, but he ultimately turned them down to stay in Brazil.
“I was invited to come to Europe many times, to come to Real Madrid, Milan, Manchester United but I was OK. Santos was the best team at that time,” Pele said.
“But today is different. Because in my time we didn’t have an agent. These days it is not the player, it is the agent who decides where they go to play.
“A lot of players they play one or another team because the agent tells them.”
Pele scored an other-worldly 619 times in 19 seasons with Santos and won the FIFA World Cup a stunning three times while representing Brazil. Pele finished his career with the New York Cosmos and had a grand total of 643 goals not counting friendlies.
While Pele was winning title after title in Brazil, Man United, were enjoying the best years of Denis Law and the late great George Best. Law and Best combined to lead Man United to two First Division titles – but even their best scoring years paled in comparison to Pele in terms of sheer numbers.
Though both Law and Best each captured the Ballon D’Or in the 1960s, Pele was never eligible since he played in Brazil and was not European. But in a 1999 voting of the Football Player of the Century, Pele finished first by a landslide over Diego Maradona, capturing 17 out of 26 first place votes.
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