GOAL50 2022 World Cup Wonders: Pele vs Maradona
The return of the GOAL50 means that GOAL readers again have the chance to decide the best male and female players on the planet. We’ll also be paying tribute to some special legends in our World Cup Wonders category.
The headline showdown in this year’s inaugural World Cup Wonders category is, of course the meeting between Pele and Diego Maradona—two players who are consistently considered among the greatest the game has ever known.
Both are former World Cup winners, with Pele holding the record for victories, having conquered the tournament on three occasions—in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Maradona won the tournament once, in 1986, but his performance during that competition is regularly considered among the greatest individual performances in the World Cup’s history, with El Pipe single-handedly dragging an average Argentina side to the title in Mexico.
During that campaign, Maradona—wearing the captain’s armband—scored four decisive goals in the knockout stages, including two each against England in the quarter-finals and Belgium in the semis.
His second goal against the Three Lions is widely celebrated as the greatest-ever World Cup goal. It was a moment of individual excellence and supreme innovation that only El Diez was capable of, even if his first goal—the infamous ‘Hand of God’—four minutes earlier exposed the other side of Maradona.
Pele’s feats for Santos and Brazil earned him the nickname of O Rei, meaning ‘The King’, as not only did he win three World Cups, but he was also a decisive figure in the Selecao’s trio of victories.
In 1958, aged just 17, he scored six goals including a hat-trick against France in the semi-final and then a double against Sweden in the final.
He was again among the goals 12 years later, as Brazil demolished Italy 4-1 in the 1970 final, a resounding one-sided victory that capped off arguably the greatest team performance during a World Cup tournament.
Overall in World Cups, Pele scored 12 goals in 14 World Cup matches, compared to eight goals in 21 games for the Argentine superstar.
The pair shared the FIFA World Player of the Century prize when it was awarded in 2000, with each also claiming one World Cup Golden Ball.
Everyone will have their opinion on whether Maradona or Pele is the greatest player to have graced the World Cup, but now, the GOAL50 2022 gives you the opportunity to cast your vote so that we can crown the greatest ever World Cup Wonder.
Voting is open from November 15 until December 18. It couldn't be easier, so get voting!
Remember, it's not our list, it's yours.
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