Pele, one of the greatest ever footballers to play the game has sadly passed away at the age of 82.
The Brazilian icon had been battling illness for some time before finally succumbing to his illness today. Tributes from all over the world have been pouring in for the football legend who plied his trade in his native Brazil.
A inspiração e o amor marcaram a jornada de Rei Pelé, que faleceu no dia de hoje.
Amor, amor e amor, para sempre.
Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today.
Love, love and love, forever. pic.twitter.com/CP9syIdL3i
— Pelé (@Pele) December 29, 2022
Pele won a record three World Cup titles and is widely considered by many as the greatest player to ever kick a football.
What many may not know is that Pele, by his own admission, could have become a Manchester United player.
In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Pele once publicly admitted that he received an offer from United to join up with George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton to form the world’s deadliest attacking quartet.
He also mentioned that on top of United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Milan, there was a host of Mexican clubs also in the race for his illustrious signature.
The world’s most famous sporting hero was quizzed by The Guardian on whether he was tempted by offers from Europe’s elite clubs. He cheerfully replied, “Manchester! I even had a proposal from Manchester United.”
The former Santos superstar reiterated that the offer from the Red Devils arrived in 1968, two years before the 1970 World Cup.
“Pele went on to say that he turned down United because he wanted to remain in Brazil with Santos. His presence at Old Trafford would have changed the history of English football and turned United into even more of a superpower.”
On whether he regrets snubbing United’s offer, the Brazilian added, “No, no, no. I said no to every team who asked me. Real Madrid was the best team who wanted me. They were a very good team. But I didn’t want to leave Santos.”
Pele’s bombshell admission came as a surprise to Mark Whiley, United’s museum curator at the time who was also dumbfounded at his revelation.
Whiley indicated that nothing in the club’s age-old records and archives points to United being an interested party in Pele’s services.
Wilf McGuinness, who worked as Sir Matt Busby’s right-hand man before replacing him as United boss in 1969 however opined that the secretive Busby, who liked keeping his cards close to his chest, could very well have been in dialogue with Pele regarding a sensational switch to the Theatre of Dreams.
United fans will always be left to fantasize about what could have been! Our condolences go to Pele’s loved ones, the Brazilian people and those affected by his demise.
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