Pele has congratulated Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese forward surpassed the Brazilian soccer great’s tally of goals scored in official matches.
Ronaldo netted a hat trick in Juventus’ 3-1 win over Cagliari on Sunday to move onto 770 career goals, three more than Pele.
The 35-year-old Ronaldo took to Instagram to recognize his achievement as well as the Brazilian’s influence on his career, prompting Pele to reply.
Life is a solo flight. Each makes his own journey. And what a beautiful journey you are having,” Pele wrote on Instagram.
“I admire you a lot, I love watching you play and this is no secret to anyone. Congratulations on breaking my record of goals in official matches.
“My only regret is not being able to give you a hug today. But I leave this photo in your honor, with great affection, as the symbol of a friendship that has existed for many years.”
Portugal’s leading goalscorer with 102 goals, Ronaldo previously played for Sporting Lisbon (five goals), Manchester United (118) and Real Madrid (450) and has now scored 95 times for Juventus.
However, whether the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is now the top goalscorer in history is still very much up for debate.
The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF), an international organization dedicated to collecting statistics about the game, still lists the late Austro-Czech striker Josef Bican as the sport’s all-time top goalscorer with more than 805 goals.
However, it notes that some of those goals came in amateur and reserve club matches, as well as non-official international games. Adjusting his total tally accordingly, multiple reports suggest Bican’s official total is 759 goals.
FIFA, world football’s governing body which doesn’t have an official ranking, credits Bican, who passed away in 2001, with an “estimated 805 goals” during his career, which spanned from 1931 to 1955.
The Guinness Book of World Records has Pele as scoring 1,279 goals in his career but the authenticity of this tally has come under scrutiny with many of those coming in unofficial matches.