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Category Archives: Pele

Lev Yashin– Soviet Union (1954-1970) there have been few challengers to his status as the greatest of all goalkeepers, Yashin was consistent- brave, an athlete and a great stopper.

Cafu– Brazil (1990–2006)** hard to beat and very dangerous going forward.
Franz Beckenbauer– West Germany (1965–1977)* (captain)The Kaiser was solid in defence and his accomplishments as a midfielder led to him practically inventing the role of sweeper. Would win the ball and then set off on marauding runs- box to box.
Marcel Desailly – France (1993–2004)* strong, solid and stylish.
Paolo MaldiniItaly (1988–2002) the greatest of all left backs, period.

Didi– Brazil (1952–1962)** defined the modern midfielder as we know it- lethal from free kicks, combative, incisive passer.
Socrates– Brazil
(1979–1986) superb ball player and an ideal fulcrum.
Zinadine Zidane – France (1994–2006)* the paragon of modern midfield play, tough, skillful and a deadly finisher.

Mané Garrincha– Brazil (1955-1966)**Mané wasn’t always glued to the right touchline- he often cut into the inside right channel and could shoot from range or deliver very telling balls into the danger area.He could head the ball also.
Johann Cruyff– The Netherlands (1966–1978) could have picked him in a number of positions, his finishing alone justifies his place at the centre of a three man attack.
Pelé– Brazil- (1957–1971)*** his range of talents and prolific scoring record cannot be overlooked.

I’m shamelessly nostalgic , so I’ll take any criticisms of the ‘retro’ look of my 11 with a pinch of salt. At first I was concerned that it was a bit right sided (imagine having Cafu overlapping Garrincha!). There is also the argument that Garrincha wouldn’t do much tracking back. Cruyff was also accused of sometimes neglecting the defensive aspect of total football. But the midfield has a solid look to it! and the back four is a mobile and formidable unit. If Beckenbauer moved up into midfield with the ball he was usually moving forward with intent, so any gap left at the back was academic. As I’ve said before- in football there is no right or wrong- only opinion- it’s just a bit of fun.
Enjoy the World Cup!


I’m breaking my resolution to avoid posts on football during World Cup month: I’ll excuse myself by pointing out there are still 4 days to go…>One of the most futile, frustrating and yet inexhaustibly enjoyable pursuits open to the football lover is the selection of ‘all time greatest’ teams. In football there can be no right or wrong, only opinion, and it is impossible to select such teams given the changes that the game has undergone. Modern players are fitter, the ball is lighter, pitches better, they don’t have to put up with the rough treatment that wash dished out in the past. Modern defensive play is better organised and I believe the general level of individual skill is greater than ever.
I’m not going to commit myself to naming my all time 11 yet, but let’s look at some others.
In 1994 FIFA selected this team, which lined up in a 4-3-3 formation:

Lev Yashin- Soviet Union (1954-1970)
Djalma Santos- Brazil (1952–1968)**
Franz Beckenbauer- West Germany (1965–1977)*
Bobby Moore- England(1962–1973)*
Paul Breitner – West Germany (1971–1982)*
Johann Cruyff- The Netherlands (1966–1978)
Michel Platini – France (1976–1987)

Bobby Charlton – England (1958–1970)*
Mané Garrincha- Brazil (1955-1966)**
Ferenc Puskas – Hungary & Spain (1945–1956/1962)
Pelé- Brazil- (1957–1971)***

At the FIFA World Cup in France 1998 Mastercard got 250 journalists to select their Team of the Century.Again the formation was 4-3-3:

Carlos Alberto Torres- Brazil (1964-1977) *
Nilton Santos- Brazil (1949-1963) **

Alfredo di Stefano – Argentina, Columbia, Spain (1947–1949/1949–1954/1954–1962)
Mané Garrincha
Diego Maradona- Argentina (1977–1994)*

In the build up to the 2002 World Cup selected the following on the basis of online voting by fans:

Paolo MaldiniItaly (1988–2002)
Roberto CarlosBrazil (1992–2006) *
Roberto BaggioItaly (1988–2004)
Zinadine Zidane – France (1994–2006)*
Romario – Brazil (1987–2005)*


Unlike the previous selections, which were quite logical and balanced, this is a crazy set up that would never work in reality. 3-4-3
3 at the back- Maldini on the right? Roberto Carlos
was strong going forward but couldn’t defend, Beckenbauer buried in the middle of a 3 man defence?
4 number 10’s in midfield-
11 great players, but not really a team.
Anyway- Joao Kartoshka will reveal his all time 11 in the near future…

All lovers of football have an ideal- they dream of football being played perfectly, with skill and vision, a blend of incisive passing interplay and individual skill. Week after week, season after season this desire to witness sublimity is frustrated. There are not many satisfactory cinematic records of the Hungarian team of the 1950’s, or even of the Real Madrid team of 1955-1960, so to most fans the acme of footballing perfection lies with Mario Zagallo’s Brazil of 1970.
Here at Kartoshka towers I watch Carlos Alberto’s goal in the 1970 World Cup Final with Italy at least once a month.
Clodoaldo’s audacious composure (his languid back heel had led to Italy’s 37th minute equaliser)as he beat four Italian players in his own half before the Alberto goal is breathtaking, as indeed is Pelé’s visionary pass that teed up his captian’s thunderous finish.
Here is the team (will we ever see Brazil field eleven domestic based players in a World Cup again?):
1 Félix (Fluminense)
2 Hércules Brito (Cruzeiro)
3 Wilson Piazza (Cruzeiro)
4 Carlos Alberto Torres (c)(Santos)
16 Everaldo (Gremio)
5 Clodoaldo (Santos)
8 Gérson (São Paulo)
7 Jairzinho (Botafogo)
9 Tostão(Cruzeiro)
10 Pelé (Santos)
11 Rivelino (Corinthians)

By becoming three time winners Brazil earned the right to retain the Jules Rimet Trophy permanently.
Anatoliy Puzach of the Soviet Union became the first substitute in World Cup Finals, coming on at half time against Mexico. Red and yellow cards were introduced, but the red remained unused throughout the tournament, which was the first to be broadcast in colour.

The 1958 tournament saw the arrival of Pele, and also a significant development in the birth of the modern game…
In the early 1950’s the Hungarians under Cebes had made tactical advances, subtly changing the traditional W-M formation thus allowing a more fluid approach to play. Hungarian coaches such as Bela Guttman and Dori Kurschner influenced the development of this system in Brazil. This gave rise to a new formation. During one of his spells as the Brazilian national coach Flavio Costa published an article in the newspaper O Cruzeiro introducing the “diagonal system”. Modern football, according to Costa, “has lost its improvisation”, and he made it his motto that a team should “defend well so that they can attack even better.”
In the diagonal, the central square of the W-M became a rhombus, with one of the wing-halves slightly deeper than the other, and one of the inside-forwards slightly advanced, Costa thus began the evolution to 4-2-4, the first ‘numbered’ system. The defensive half-back eventually became a second centre-back, and the advanced inside-forward a second striker.
Six men defended, six, or even seven would attack.Now in 1958 Brazil, under Vicente Feola played 4-2-4: Four defenders, two midfield runners and four forwards. This first appearance of a ‘back four’ meant that defence became more robust and cohesive, with defenders also having an attacking role.
There was more fluidity , with emphasis being on short passing and thrusting runs.
Players had to cover more ground. The game became faster and Comfort on the ball and greater technical skills were required in all positions.
The First round game between Brazil and England saw the first goalless game in World Cup finals history.
England went out in first round but were represented in the final in the person of Sweden’s manager George Raynor, a Yorkshireman with a curious managerial career that took him from Iraq to Doncaster Rovers via Juventus and two world cup campaigns with Sweden.
Just Fontaine of France set a record that is unlikely to be beaten, scoring 13 goals in the tournament.
Pele, of course, arrived- the 17 year old got a deflected winner in the 66th minute of the quarter final with Wales, and then banged in a hat trick in the semi final against France. He netted twice in the final.
Waldyr Pereira, aka Didi was the player of the tournament and Garrincha’s mesmerising dribbling was on show- allegedly he didn’t realize that the game against Sweden was the final, thinking that it was some sort of round robin format.

Vicente Feola -4-2-4

On October 1, 1977 Pelé played the last of his 1,363 professional games.
It was an exhibition match between the Cosmos and Santos that was sold out six weeks in advance and broadcast in 38 nations.
Pelé played the first half in the green of Cosmos (scoring a goal from a free kick), the second in the white of Santos.
before the game he Addressed the 75,000 fans, ending by asking them to shout Love! Love! Love!

The occasion inspired Caetano Veloso to write the song Love,Love,Love for his 1978 LP Muito (Dentro Da Estrela Azulada).

Link :

Sometimes here we will feature some of the all time greats from the game of football. Debates will always go on about who is the greatest- it’s the same in any sport, the sort of thing that people get very passionate about. Maybe here we can enjoy similar debates as time goes by.
But I will set out my stall right away.
In terms of skill and the threat that his very presence on the park posed to any opposition in a carer of twenty years, a career of over 1,200 goals, the great Pele has no rival for the title of the greatest footballer of all time.
(By the way, by English speakers Pele is usually pronounced Pe- lay, but strictly speaking it is Pe- lai, the lai as in lair.)