Brazilian legend Pele has congratulated Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo for overtaking him in the all-time goals rankings.
Heading into Sunday’s meeting with Cagliari, the two were tied on 767 official career goals (club and international), but a first-half hat-trick from Ronaldo saw him move clear up to 770, which some believe to be a world record.
The Czech FA are adamant that legendary forward Josef Bican actually managed 821 goals in his illustrious career, although that claim has been disputed by many, including the Rec Sports Soccer Statistics Foundation, who believe the Czech forward only ended with 759 goals in competitive matches.
“Life is a solo flight. Each makes his own journey,” he began. “And what a beautiful journey you are having. I admire you a lot, I love watching you play and this is no secret to anyone. Congratulations on breaking my record of goals in official matches.”
As for Ronaldo, he too went online to clarify why he had not spoken out about breaking Pele’s record until now, insisting the confusion over the whole thing has left him reluctant to celebrate.
“The last few weeks were filled with news and stats considering me the world’s top scorer in football history, overcoming Pele’s 757 official goals,” he said. “Although I’m thankful for that recognition, now it’s time for me to explain why I didn’t acknowledge that record until this moment.
“My ever-lasting and unconditional admiration for mister Edson Arantes do Nascimento [Pele], such as the respect that I have for mid-20th century football, led me to take into account his 767 score, assuming his nine goals for Sao Paulo State Team, as well as his single goal for the Brazilian Military Team, as official goals. The world has changed since then and football has changed as well, but this doesn’t mean that we can just erase history according to our interests.
“Today, as I reach the 770th official goal in my professional career, my first words go straight to Pele. There’s no player in the world who hasn’t been raised listening to stories about his games, his goals and his achievements, and I’m no exception.
“And for that reason, I’m filled with joy and pride as I acknowledge the goal that puts me on top of the world’s goalscoring list, overcoming Pele’s record, something that I could never have dreamed of while growing up as a child from Madeira.”