Pele Vs Maradona: Who Is The Better Player?

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Before Messi Vs Ronaldo became the brightest stars in football history, we had Pele Vs Maradona. They are great monuments and once dominated during their time in the competition. Both have impressive achievements and touched the prestigious World Cup.

Their successful careers make us wonder who is the more extraordinary star. It will be difficult to answer this question precisely because the two are not competing simultaneously. We can rely on statistics to analyze to have a comprehensive perspective.

Now, let’s go deeper with Scott Fujita!

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Who is the best footballer of all time? 

Pele Vs Maradona: Club Goals

Pele’s goal figures are inaccurate because there are too many unverified sources. Even so, the Brazilian star still ultimately prevailed over his Argentine opponent.

Pele played and scored more than 700 goals for the club, while that number for Maradona was only 300. To understand it, we need to analyze further the variables involved, including club representatives and their positions.

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Maradona was played as an attacking midfielder with the task of falling deep into his own half to prepare for attacks. In contrast, Pele is an advanced forward.

Much of the Brazilian star’s career was centered in Santos before he arrived and hit North America with the New York Cosmos. “Golden Boy” has a history of changing subject clubs frequently. He has played for many different squads, such as Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Napoli, and Barcelona.

We should also admit that Diego Maradona had to change his way of playing quite a lot when playing in Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s Primera Division. These tournaments bring together a lot of solid defensive squads with strong and tough defenders.

Pele Vs Maradona Stats: International Games

Stat Pele Maradona
International caps 92 91
International goals 77 34
Goals per game 0.84 0.37

Pele’s scoring record is much better than that of the Argentine star in the international arena. He scored many goals for the Brazilian team to contribute to their rise to fame.

The best Brazilian footballer has conceded a total of 77 times. Maradona only scored 34 goals for his national team. Both Pele and Maradona have played roughly the same number of matches, but their scoring rate differs. It’s easy to see why Pele has a nickname: “The King.”

The position of these two stars also dramatically affects their results. While Pele is assigned to key attacking positions, Diego Armando Maradona is the traditional type of player.

Related: Messi Vs Pele

Diego Maradona Vs Pele: World Cups Stats

Stats Pele Maradona
Tournaments 4 4
Appearances 14 21
Goals 12 8
Goals per game 0.86 0.38

Both Pele and Maradona played in the Fifa World Cup seasons, and the Argentina star had more appearances. Injuries affected Pele’s form in 1966, so the numbers here are not entirely indicative of his ability.

However, the Brazilian striker’s ability to score goals is not underestimated. He still scores more goals than Maradona. In 14 matches, Pele scored 12 goals. There were two decisive goals in the 1958 and 1970 World Cup Finals.

The “Golden Boy” scored a total of 8 goals in the 21 matches he participated in at the World Cup. His memorable period was in 1986, with four goals contributing to Argentina’s title.

The quarter-final against England brought him memorable moments that Maradona fans still recall. The controversial solo goal of the Argentine star stunned the audience at first, but then he made a divine goal that is still hailed as the “Best Goal of the Century” to this day.

Let’s take a look back at that remarkable moment.

In terms of titles, Pele won three World Cups in his career in 1958, 1962, 1970. Meanwhile, Maradona won the title only once in 1986. He also had an unfortunate defeat in the 1990 World Cup Final.

Pele Vs Diego Maradona: Title Comparison

Titles Pele Maradona
World Cup 3 1
Intercontinental Cup 2 0
Copa Libertadores 2 0
Intercontinental Supercup 1 0
UEFA Cup 0 1
National League 7 3
National Cup 0 5
FIFA World Youth Championship 0 1
Total 15 11

Pele won again in this respect. He has enjoyed a successful career in all areas of club and country.

This best footballer has twice won the Copa Libertadores title with Santos FC. He is also the owner of two Intercontinental Cups and an Intercontinental Supercup. While playing football in the Brazilian League, Pele also won six Brasileiro titles.

He is also the owner of ten Campeonato Paulista titles and four Torneio Rio-Sao Paulo awards. While competing for the New York Cosmos, “The King” won the NASL Bowl title.

At the same time, Diego Maradona enjoyed his success in Argentina, Italy, and Spain. His most successful playing period was with Napoli. Here, this football genius won a Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, two Serie A championships, and the UEFA Cup.

The “Golden Boy” won the Copa de la Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the Supercopa de Espana while playing for Barcelona. He was also the owner of the Argentine Primera Division Metropolitano while wearing the Boca jersey.

Moreover, Diego Maradona is also the FIFA World Youth Championship winner. This tournament is a youth equivalent of the World Cup.

Although Pele has won trophies, we cannot compare Maradona with him based on numbers alone. Both Pele and Maradona had their glory days with a series of medals and trophies to confirm their talents.

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They both received the honorable Ballon d’Or in 2000 

Diego Maradona Vs Pele: Individual Awards

Awards Pele Maradona
World Cup Golden Ball 1 1
FIFA Player of the Century 1 1
Ballon d’Or 1 1
South American Footballer of the Year 0 2
National league top scorer awards 3 6
South American Championship (Copa America) Best Player 1 0

Both Pele and Maradona are the best in world football in terms of individual awards. Both have won the World Cup Golden Ball title. In 2000, they shared the FIFA Player of the Century award.

They received an honorary Ballon d’Or from France Football. In 2016, Pele was considered the alternate winner for seven Ballon d’Or, while Maradona was only a two-time substitute winner.

Diego Maradona is also the owner of two South American Footballer of the Year awards. It is pretty unfortunate for Pele that this award only appeared in 1970.

However, he was honored to become the best player of the old South America Championship in 1959. That award was the precursor to Copa America.

Over the years, both stars have also received numerous unofficial individual honors and awards from magazines and other entities.

Diego Maradona Vs Pele: Fun Facts

In addition to the goals and trophies, many people compare these two legends in marginal aspects. They have unbelievable coincidences. Stay tuned for more in this section.

pele vs maradona

The “10” jersey number

Jersey Number

Both Pele and Maradona have worn the legendary No 10 shirt. The Brazilian star wore it from 1956 to 1977, and the Argentine player carried it from 1976 to 1997.

Pele’s most prominent role is as a goal scorer. He scored a total of 77 goals for the Brazilian national team, Selecao. The star’s dedication to the clubs he joins is notable for his superb scoring performance.

Pele is the only footballer who has scored over 1000 goals and won three World Cups.

At the same time, Diego Maradona has a more accessible and flexible playing style. He has scored 345 goals in 692 matches throughout his playing career. Another nickname for Maradona is DS10, where DS is short for Dios – God in Spanish.

Private Life

Pele’s private life is spotless. He has a happy family and a scandal-free career with lots of honors. Pele was a UNESCO Goodwill ambassador in 1995.

Pele also played for two teams during his stint, Santos FC (1956-74) and New York Cosmos (1975-77).

In contrast, Maradona played for a total of six clubs. He was also sent off at the 1982 World Cup and sent home in disgrace when he failed a drug test in 1994. We can’t forget his controversial goal in 1986, either.

Maradona also suffered from cocaine addiction.

Final Thoughts

Based on the stats and trophies we mentioned above, it’s not tricky to see Pele as the superior player. Even so, we cannot deny the influence and extraordinary ability of Diego Maradona.

Deciding who will be the greatest football player depends on the opinion of each individual.

Many people select Maradona because they don’t have the opportunity to see Pele play football in real life and vice versa. Therefore, the underground war between the two stars is still smoldering to this day.

That contradiction is straightforward to see when you ask the opinion of the big football stars in the world. Leo Messi chose Diego Maradona, while Cristiano Ronaldo voted for Pele.

Well, so who are your picks? Would you mind sharing your opinion with us?

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