The Top 10 Pele's in Football
So you thought Pele was good eh ? Well meet the other ones who, ..er, aren't quite as good., as we list the top 10 footballing Pele's....
Edison Arantes do Nascimento. O Rei. The King. Winner of 2 World Cups (and 3 World Cup medals). A goal per game ratio that would cause Opta's statistical super computers into meltdown. Rated by many as the best footballer ever. And our obvious choice as football's number one Pele.
2 Abedi Pele
One of the finest African players of all-time, Abedi Pele (also known as Abedi Ayew) was captain of the Ghana national team, scoring 33 goals in 73 appearances. Used as an attacking midfielder or second striker, his great dribbling skills, solo goals and dominance of matches also earned him the tag 'the African Maradona'. He was named African player of the year 3 times in a row between 1991 and 1993, when he was at the height of his fame, playing in the great, but controversial, Marseille team that won the 1993 European Cup. Interestingly, he's the only other 'Pele' to be named by the Pele in his '125 greatest living footballers' list back in 2004.
3 The White Pele - Colin Harvey
There have been a number of players who have been given the 'White Pele' tag over the years, Zico and Tostao for example, and whilst for these 2 it was a pretty obvious comparison to make (i.e. they were Brazilian and er, white), it wasn't so for Colin Harvey. Best known in recent years for his managerial partnership with Howard Kendall, it's often forgotten what a great player Harvey actually was. Alongside Kendall and Alan Ball, he was part of the famous Everton midfield that was nicknamed 'the Holy Trinity'. The comparison with Pele wasn't particularly apt in that Harvey was actually a midfielder, but it was his creativity, skill and elegance on the ball that obviously coined the comparison from the Goodison faithful. And anyone who saw him in action will find it hard to believe he only played once for England.
4 Francois M'Pele
The Former PSG striker is still considered the best player to come out of Congo. His finest hour came in 1972 when he scored in the final of the African Nations Cup, as Congo beat Mali 3:2.
5 Pele Passos
In actual fact Vitor Hugo Gomes Passos, but he was nicknamed Pele when he was only 7, after banging in goals galore during his goal-hanging days at school. The nickname stuck but he eventually moved into a midfield role, and he openly admits there is absolutely no comparison with the great Brazilian, preferring to model his game on Patrick Viera, in which case maybe the ungrateful wretch should change his name to Viera Passos. Like Pedro Pele he could have opted for Cape Verde but some fine performances for the Portuguese U20 team means he's more likely to be turning out for them, whilst those same performances also persuaded Italian giants Inter Milan to snap him up in 2007.
6 Pedro Pele
Or Pedro Miguel Cardoso Monteiro to give him his full name. A composed central defender who can also play full-back or as a grafter in midfield, this particular Pele grew up in the Portuguese league but made the move to England in 2006 when he signed for Southampton. A £1 million move to West Brom followed a year and half later. This particular Pele plays for the Cape Verde national team.
7 Steven Pele
No nicknames here, the French defender just took the family name and got on with it. He was a highly rated youngster who was part of the French U19 team that won the European Championchips back in 2000, yet whilst fellow defenders from that same team Phillippe Mexes and Gael Givet have gone on to carve out fine careers and stepped up to the full French team, Pele has become almost a journeyman among 2nd and 3rd tier French teams such as En Avant de Guingamp.
8 Yohann Pele
Another French Pele ? Well, maybe not too surprising as he's the younger brother of Steven. He might be younger, but he's bigger - a 6ft 6 giant, who had "career as a goalkeeper" written all over him from an early age. A one-club man so far with Le Mans UC72, his fine performances helped the club gain promotion to Ligue 1 in 2005.
9 Pele FC (Guyana)
We're scraping the bottom of the barrel here lads, but what the hell ! Cricket may still be the most popular sport in Guyana (the reason being that South America's 3rd smallest country is culturally more Caribbean than South American, and is the only English speaking country in the continent) but there's a growing popularity for football. So amongst some of the fine club names that have been formed over the years (Blueberry Hill United, South Georgetown Ballweavers and Joe Public) we find Pele FC, hailing from the capital Georgetown and one of the oldest teams in the country, having dominated the championships back in the late 70's. The club's founders were presumably big fans of the great Brazilian striker.
10 Estadio Rei Pele
Bottom of the barrel hit ! Last in our list is the Estadio Rei Pele - a stadium in the Brazilian city of Maceio, it's home to both Clube de Regatas Brasil and Clube de Regatas Brasil and translates roughly as The King Pele Stadium.