Brazilian football icon Pele has died at the age of 82, it has been confirmed.
The legend of the game had been in hospital in Sao Paulo since November 29 following complications with colon cancer, which was diagnosed in September 2021.
The forward is considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all-time, though notably he never played club football in Europe.
In fact, the three-time World Cup winner only played for two clubs throughout his incredible career: Santos in his native Brazil and American side New York Cosmos.
For many, playing at the pinnacle of European football and winning trophies like the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or is the ultimate goal, so how come Pele never moved to the other side of the Atlantic?
There have been many stories about clubs who tried and failed to sign Pele, most notably in the immediate aftermath of the 1958 and 1962 World Cups.
This includes the likes of Manchester United and Valencia, but the one name that crops up the most is Real Madrid.
In his own words: ‘There were many times when I was very close to signing with Real Madrid, and then once more with Napoli in Italy.
‘It’s not a regret. I was at Santos, and at the time they were a powerhouse.
‘I didn’t play outside of Brazil because I was very, very happy at Santos, I had the best 15-20 years of my life there. I had plenty of other proposals and not just from Real Madrid either, but I was ok where I was.’
As well as Napoli, Pele also came close to joining two other Italian giants: Juventus and Inter Milan.
The legendary forward revealed his connection to the former in an Instagram post back in 2018, when he congratulated Cristiano Ronaldo on his move from Real to Turin.
He wrote: ‘Good luck, Cristiano, for your first game with Juve. Had things worked out differently, I may have played for the Old Lady too.