Why Pele never played in Europe, won Ballon d’Or

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Brazilian football icon, Pele never played for a club in Europe during his boisterous years of football.

Again, the Brazil football king only played for just two clubs namely Santos and American side, New York Cosmos.

Yet, he was regarded as one of the greatest footballers the world has ever had.

Pele died on Thursday, December 29, 2022, at the age of 82. But he had been in hospital in Sao Paulo since November 29.

He could not survive complications he suffered from colon cancer, which was diagnosed in September 2021.

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Pele was a three-time World Cup winner but never played European football nor won trophies like the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or which many see as the ultimate goal.

Manchester United, Valencia, Napoli and Real Madrid have all been mentioned as top European clubs who tried to lure the superstar to Europe after the 1958 and 1962 World Cups but to no avail.

Pele himself explained why he never moved to Europe where he would have won the Ballon d’Or and other individual gongs.

“There were many times when I was very close to signing with Real Madrid, and then once more with Napoli in Italy,” he explained.

“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,” he said.

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