Manchester United have housed many great footballers in the past, but they almost had arguably the greatest of them all, according to an incredible new statement.
Brazilian legend Pele has conceded that the Old Trafford-based outfit made an approach to sign him when he was playing for Santos, and they weren’t the only ones.
Both Real Madrid and AC Milan are also mentioned specifically by the former striker, who ranks comfortably amongst the best players to have ever laced up a pair of football boots.
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“I was invited to come to Europe many times, to come to Real Madrid, Milan, Manchester United but I was OK. Santos was the best team at that time,” he said, as relayed by the Daily Telegraph.
“But today is different. Because in my time we didn’t have an agent. These days it is not the player, it is the agent who decides where they go to play. A lot of players they play one or another team because the agent tells them.”
It goes without saying that many clubs in European football would have welcomed the services of Pele, who is famous for having scored over 1,000 goals during his professional career.
One resounding criticism of the 74-year-old is that he never really tested himself at club level outside of Brazil, with Santos having retained his services for almost 20 years.
That’s in contrast to the celebrated career of arch-rival Diego Maradona, who was a standout performer for both Barcelona and Napoli during his heyday.
Times have changed
Given how football has moved on it’s also fairly safe to assume that Pele would have been playing in Europe were he around now.
As was the case with Neymar, there’s only so much a footballer can achieve in South America, though we’ll never know how good the Brazilian grandfather of football might have been in England.
United fans, would Pele have been a great player for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.