Skip to main content

Pele: I almost joined Real Madrid

Brazil great Pele revealed he was close to signing for La Liga giants Real Madrid on several occasions.

Pele, considered arguably the greatest footballer of all time, spent his professional career at Santos before a brief stint at New York Cosmos.

But the three-time World Cup winner on Thursday said he was once close to making a European move – to Madrid.

"There were many times when I was very close to signing with Real Madrid," he said in New York City on Thursday.

Madrid's rivals, Barcelona, were praised by Pele when the 75-year-old was asked about the Champions League.

Luis Enrique's men were surprisingly knocked out in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid, who are joined by Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Real in the last eight.

But Pele said Barca had developed into the finest side in the world.

"It's clear that during the last 15 years, Barcelona have been the best team, just like the Dutch sides played the most attractive football in previous years," he said.