For the past few months, we’ve all been declaring Cristiano Ronaldo as the greatest goalscorer in football history.
After scoring the 760th goal of his career during the Italian Super Cup win over Napoli back in January, many outlets – including ourselves – believed he had surpassed a certain Josef Bican.
With Bican’s career spanning from 1931 to 1955, his exact figures are tough to verify.
And that doesn’t just apply to Bican.
Pele also disputed the notion that Ronaldo was now the greatest goalscorer in history and claimed to have scored 757 official goals himself.
Interestingly, Ronaldo kept unusually quiet throughout.
But after scoring a hat-trick during Juventus’ victory over Cagliari on Sunday evening, Ronaldo officially surpassed Pele’s tally.
And finally, the Portuguese superstar broke his silence.
He took to Instagram to pay his respects to the Brazilian in an emotional message.
He wrote: The last few weeks were filled with news and stats considering me the World’s Top Scorer in football history, overcoming Pelé’s 757 official goals. Although I’m thankful for that recognition, now it’s time for me to explain why I didn’t acknowledge that record until this moment.
“My everlasting and unconditional admiration for mister Edson Arantes do Nascimento, such as the respect that I have for mid-20th century football, led me to take into account his 767 score, assuming his 9 goals for São Paulo State Team, as well as his single goal for the Brazilian Military Team, as official goals. The World as changed since then and football as changed as well, but this doesn’t mean that we can just erase history according to our interests.
“Today, as I reach the 770.º official goal in my professional career, my first words go straight to @pele. There’s no player in the World who hasn’t been raised listening to stories about his games, his goals and his achievements, and I’m no exception. And for that reason, I’m filled with joy and pride as I acknowledge the goal that puts me on top of the World’s goalscoring list, overcoming Pelé’s record, something that I could never have dreamed of while growing up as a child from Madeira.
“Thanks to all of those who took part of this amazing journey with me. To my teammates, to my opponents, to the fans of the beautiful game all over the world and, above all, to my family and close friends: trust me when I say that I couldn’t have done it without you.
“Now I can’t wait for the next games and challenges! The next records and trophies! Believe me, this story is still far from being over. The future is tomorrow and there’s still a lot to win for Juventus and Portugal!
“Join me in this journey! Let’s go!”
And there was no bitterness from Pele, either.
He had already posted on Twitter a beautiful message of his own which read: “@Cristiano, what a beautiful journey you are having! I admire you a lot and this is no secret to anyone. Congratulations on breaking my record of goals in official matches. I leave this photo in your honor, with great affection, as a symbol of a friendship that has existed for many years.”
Two football legends sharing a fantastic moment and appreciating each other’s greatness.