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Pele's 125 Greatest Footballers Included Some Seriously Bizarre Choices

Pele's 125 Greatest Footballers Included Some Seriously Bizarre Choices

Back in 2004, on the day FIFA celebrated their 100th anniversary, Brazilian legend Pele was asked to name 125 of his "greatest living footballers" to mark the occasion. It was all a little bizarre.

Pele had originally been asked to select 50 current players and 50 retired players but the former Santos forward found it 'too difficult' to limit the number of former players, so he chose 125 instead.

He eventually opted for 123 males and two females in the list and, at the time, 50 of those players were still playing and 75 were retired.

So who did he choose?

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Pele
Pele

It's fair to say some of Pele's choices were controversial.

Fellow Brazilian player Gerson reacted by tearing up the list on live television while several columists slammed the choices as 'politically motivated'.

The induction of Senegal and Liverpool forward El Hadji Diouf certainly raised plenty of eyebrows. Turkey's Emre Belozoglu, who enjoyed spells at Newcastle and Fenerbahce, also found himself on the list, to the surprise of many.

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Hong Myung-bo, who spent the majority of his career in Asia, was also included, as well as Javier Saviola, Jay Jay Okocha and Hidetoshi Nakata.

diouf
diouf
Big Sam with Jay-Jay Okocha
Big Sam with Jay-Jay Okocha

Here's the full list of players Pele decided to include in his 125 "greatest living players" list, back in 2004.

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Argentina:
Alfredo Di Stefano, Daniel Passarella, Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta, Hernan Crespo, Javier Saviola, Javier Zanetti, Juan Sebastian Veron, Mario Kempes, Omar Sivori

Belgium:
Franky van der Elst, Jean-Marie Pfaff, Jan Cuelemans

Brazil:
Cafu, Carlos Alberto, Djalma Santos, Falcao, Nilton Santos, Junior, Pele, Rivaldo, Rivelino, Roberto Carlos, Romario, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Socrates, Zico

Bulgaria:
Hristo Stoichkov

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Cameroon:
Roger Milla

Chile:
Pablo Figueroa, Ivan Zamorano

Colombia:
Carlos Valderrama

Croatia:
Davor Suker

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Czech Repbublic:
Josef Masopust, Pavel Nedved

Denmark:
Brian Laudrup, Michael Laudrup, Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel

England:
Alan Shearer, Bobby Charlton, David Beckham, Gary Lineker, Gordon Banks, Kevin Keegan, Michael Owen

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France:
David Trezeguet, Didier Deschamps, Eric Cantona, Jean-Pierre Papin, Just Fontaine, Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Marius Tresor, Michel Platini, Patrick Vieira, Raymond Kopa, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane

Germany:
Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Mueller, Jurgen Klinsmann, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lothar Matthaeus, Michael Ballack, Oliver Kahn, Paul Breitner, Sepp Maier, Uwe Seeler

Ghana:
Abedi Pele

Holland:
Clarence Seedorf, Dennis Bergkamp, Edgar Davids, Frank Rijkaard, Johan Neeskens, Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Patrick Kluivert, Rene van de Kerkhof, Rob Rensenbrink, Ruud Gullit, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Willie van de Kerkhof

Davids Seedorf
Davids Seedorf
Pele Once Named His 125 Greatest Players And There's Some Seriously Bizarre Choices
Football

Pele Once Named His 125 Greatest Players And There's Some Seriously Bizarre Choices

published at7 months ago

Hungary:
Ferenc Puskas

Repubic of Ireland:
Roy Keane

Italy:
Alessandro Del Piero, Alessandro Nesta, Christian Vieri, Dino Zoff, Francesco Totti, Franco Baresi, Giampiero Boniperti, Giacinto Fachetti, Gianluca Buffon, Gianni Rivera, Giuseppe Bergomi, Paolo Rossi, Paolo Maldini, Roberto Baggio

Japan:
Hidetoshi Nakata

Liberia:
George Weah

Mexico:
Hugo Sanchez

Nigeria:
Jay-Jay Okocha

Northern Ireland:
George Best

Paraguay:
Romerito

Peru:
Teofilo Cubillas

Poland:
Zbigniew Boniek

Portugal:
Eusebio, Luis Figo, Rui Costa

Luis Figo
Luis Figo

Romania:
Gheorghe Hagi

Russia:
Rinat Disayev

Scotland:
Kenny Dalglish

Senegal:
El Hadji Diouf

South Korea:
Hong Myung-Bo

Spain:
Emilio Butragueno, Luis Enrique, Raul

Turkey:
Emre Belozoglu, Rustu Recber

Ukraine:
Andriy Shevchenko

Uruguay:
Enzo Francescoli

United States:
Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football News, Football, World Football, players, Pele, Fails, Brazil

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Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some of the biggest names in sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.