Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Overwhelming Evidence That We Should Not Take Pele Seriously


"Now everyone is talking about Messi; he is a star. But [to be the best ever] he must first become better than Neymar," Pele said. "At the moment Messi is just more experienced."
There is not a lot of context to his quote in the piece, although, unless that context was that he made the comment with a gun in his back, it's hard to see how this is anything but a horribly silly remark.

I wonder if the sports legends who were a cut below the best ever have an easier time in old age than do the viable contenders for GOAT. Pele and Maradona seem perennially tortured by their place in the game's history in a way that, say, Platini does not, although maybe I just need to follow Platini a bit more closely. Same with Jordan compared to, for instance, Charles Barkley. That's a small sample size examined from great distance, and Gretzky certainly does not seem overly wrapped up in his status in hockey history, so maybe this is nonsense, but it strikes me that building your identity around a legacy that you can never add to, all while the debate over the significance of said legacy is heated and often compels you to come to its defense, would be an emotionally exhausting chore.


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Ray said...

What if, say, you could choose to put Messi, Ronaldo, or Neymar on a bottom-half PL team?

I would choose Ronaldo, then Neymar.

Messi is a Barca creation.

pc said...

Ray, I think that's laughable. He's definitely better for playing on Barça than he would be for Sociedad or for Gijón, but that's true for any great player surrounded by other greats. But that doesn't make him a Barça creation (and for all the hand-wringing over his play with Argentina, he's had some phenomenal games with the albiceleste as well), and if you would really choose Neymar above Messi to build around at Wigan or WBA, well, I don't quite know how to respond, other than to say I'm glad you're not running my favorite franchises.

Jason, will be in touch, thanks for the heads up.

Ray said...

It should be mentioned that Pele's comment was patriotic poetry. People are taking that comment too seriously. He knows Messi is from another planet.

Yes I agree, my comment sure looks laughable in retrospect. However, I was thinking Neymar when he'll be available. Also, I had just seen his 70 yard azo against Internacional.

Barca literally raised Messi, who'd be 4'7" without the treatments Barca paid for. Is there any parallel in football?

Speaking of Barca, it would be interesting to hear your take on the extranjero Cruyff's adventure with the all-Mexican Chivas, once it plays itself out.

pc said...

Hey Ray, sorry for the delay in responding. I don't quite know what to make of Cruyff at Chivas. They are playing marginally better since he arrived, but that was more of a regression to the mean I imagine. He's definitely a genius in more ways than one with regard to building a top-notch club, but the fact that he has no history in Mexico (right?), that he has no desire to get really deeply involved and rebuild the system from the ground up like he could at Barça in the 1990s, and that Vergara seems like unlikely to cede any real authority makes me suspect it can't go that far.