‘The man is shameless’: Football legend Pele rejects Ronaldo's claim to have broken his mammoth goal record by adding 526 to total
Fans were astonished to spot that Pele, who has also been at the center of a row over whether Barcelona striker Lionel Messi recently broke another of his records, had updated his mammoth career goals haul.
While the accepted record books had shown that the revered striker had scored 757 goals across his celebrated career, eagle-eyed followers noticed that a cheeky edit had been made to Pele's Instagram page hours after Ronaldo's landmark.
The stand-out line on Pele's biographical details insistently read: "Leading Goal Scorer of All Time (1,283)".
Pele counting all the goals scored with him on Fifa pic.twitter.com/VPQ0RW18dl— Tom (@TomJakeTaylor) January 4, 2021
The club where Pele scored the vast majority of his goals, Santos, argued last month that hotshot Messi's claim to have beaten Pele's count for one club was invalid.
Many observers laughed those remarks off, accusing the Brazilian side of counting goals that had never previously been recognized in official competitions.
Now the 80-year-old appears to have waded into the argument around how many times he found the net during his 21-year career, which ended with a two-year spell at the New York Cosmos.
Ronaldo was widely congratulated for moving a goal behind Josef Bican's all-time goals record with a brace for Juventus against Udinese on Sunday, but Pele appears determined to dispute that feat.
"The man is shameless," said one supporter, while others produced a torrent of memes mocking the updated figure and showing Ronaldo laughing at the suggestion.
"Too bad Ronaldo didn't keep his stats of goals scored in the academy and in training," added another.
Pele includes goals scored in training, friendlies, exhibitions & FIFA 18-21.— Willie (@Evenflow76) January 4, 2021
The man is shameless 😂— Harry Andrew (@HarryAndrew94) January 4, 2021
Och, why has he done this? I still think Pelé is the greatest so he has no need to add goals scored through friendly/exhibition games.— Båñ Nörmålîţÿ 🃏 (@BanNormality) January 4, 2021
FIFA does not count the extra 526 goals claimed by Pele because they took place in charity matches.
The three-time World Cup winner is yet to officially congratulate Ronaldo, although he did send a message to Messi - the Portugal captain's arch-rival in terms of goals - when the Barca captain scored his apparently record-breaking 644th for the only club of his career.
"Stories like ours, of loving the same club for so long, unfortunately will be increasingly rare in football," Pele told the Argentina forward in a post. "I admire you very much."Also on rt.com Anything you can do: Football icon Cristiano Ronaldo beats Pele’s official goalscoring tally to move into second in all-time list