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?
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.
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.
Here's the full list of players Pele decided to include in his 125 "greatest living players" list, back in 2004.
Alfredo Di Stefano, Daniel Passarella, Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta, Hernan Crespo, Javier Saviola, Javier Zanetti, Juan Sebastian Veron, Mario Kempes, Omar Sivori
Franky van der Elst, Jean-Marie Pfaff, Jan Cuelemans
Cafu, Carlos Alberto, Djalma Santos, Falcao, Nilton Santos, Junior, Pele, Rivaldo, Rivelino, Roberto Carlos, Romario, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Socrates, Zico
Pablo Figueroa, Ivan Zamorano
Josef Masopust, Pavel Nedved
Brian Laudrup, Michael Laudrup, Peter Schmeichel
Alan Shearer, Bobby Charlton, David Beckham, Gary Lineker, Gordon Banks, Kevin Keegan, Michael Owen
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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
Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Mueller, Jurgen Klinsmann, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lothar Matthaeus, Michael Ballack, Oliver Kahn, Paul Breitner, Sepp Maier, Uwe Seeler
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
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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
Eusebio, Luis Figo, Rui Costa
El Hadji Diouf
Emilio Butragueno, Luis Enrique, Raul
Emre Belozoglu, Rustu Recber
Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm
Featured Image Credit: PA
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