Top Five Biggest Controversies In Pele’s Career


This article will tell you about the top five biggest controversies of Pele

Pele, the Brazilian football legend, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. While he achieved remarkable success on the field, he also encountered a few controversies throughout his career.

It’s important to note that while controversies surrounded Pele, his impact on football and his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time remain undeniable.

His remarkable skills, achievements, and his role in popularizing the sport globally have left an indelible mark. Despite the controversies, Pele’s contributions to the game will always be celebrated.

Here are five notable controversies involving Pele.

Club Rivalries and Criticism from Santos Fans

Pele spent the majority of his club career at Santos FC, where he achieved immense success. However, his decision to play for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League (NASL) during the 1970s was met with criticism from Santos fans.

They felt betrayed by Pele’s move to a foreign league, and there were accusations of him prioritizing financial gain over loyalty to the club. This controversy strained his relationship with some Santos supporters.

Political Allegiances and Criticism

During his career, Pele faced criticism for his political allegiances and actions. In Brazil, during the military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, Pele was accused of being politically apathetic and not speaking out against the regime’s human rights abuses.

Critics argued that his silence contributed to the perpetuation of the regime. However, Pele defended his position, stating that he preferred to use football as a unifying force rather than getting involved in politics.

Controversy Surrounding His Goal Record

Pele’s official goal tally throughout his career has been a subject of controversy and debate. Various sources provide different numbers, with some claiming that he scored over 1,000 goals, including unofficial matches and friendlies.


This discrepancy has led to debates about the accuracy and legitimacy of his goal record. While Pele’s impact and achievements on the field are unquestionable, the controversy surrounding his goal tally has persisted over the years.

Accused Of Arrogance

Pele has been accused of arrogance by some critics due to his confident and self-assured demeanor. Some people perceive his statements and actions as self-promotion and believe that he often portrays himself as superior to other players.

Critics argue that his confidence may come across as boastful and dismissive of the accomplishments of other football icons. However, it is essential to note that perceptions of arrogance can vary among individuals, and opinions about Pele’s attitude can differ depending on personal interpretations and biases.

Commercialization and Sponsorship Deals

Throughout his career, Pele has been associated with numerous commercial endorsements and sponsorship deals. While these partnerships brought him financial success and elevated his global profile, they also attracted criticism.

Some argued that Pele’s extensive involvement in commercial ventures compromised his authenticity and legacy as a football icon. Critics felt that the commercialization of his image and association with brands overshadowed his contributions to the sport.