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The World Cup All-Time Best XI: Pele

Of all my selections, Brazil’s Pele is definitely the most obvious. No man has ever dominated his World Cup competition like Pele did. He would appear in four tournaments (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970) and win three of them. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that he isn’t just the greatest soccer player of all time, but the greatest athlete. Period.

Known simply as “The King” in his homeland, Pele is the only player to ever win three World Cups. Moreover, he is one of only four men to score in two World Cup Finals. His soccer ability wasn’t just shocking because it resulted in over 1,000 career goals, but also because he seemingly had no weakness. He wasn’t just the best. He was a God.

Why was he the greatest? Let me count the ways. No one else has ever been a more disturbingly good dribbler when it comes to deceiving defenders. No one else has ever been a more precise passer. No one else has ever had such incredible pace with the ball or been as good with both feet and their head. Finally, no one else has ever been a better finisher.

In his final WC match (the 1970 Final), Pele ended his WC career in style. He scored the opening goal on a miraculous shot, and then he assisted two more to lead his team to a 4-1 victory. He was awarded the Golden Ball for his stellar performance. It was a fitting end to a seemingly superhuman World Cup career. So, Pele will start at striker for my Best XI. I bet he scores too.

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