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Leo Messi has beaten the record of none other than Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known to the world as Pelé. Which seems as good a time as any to remember the three times when the Camp Nou was graced by the presence of 'O Rei'…
Brace in first appearance
It was on 28 June 1959, the year after the teenager had burst onto the international scene with his stellar performances as Brazil won the 1958 World Cup, that Pelé first played at Camp Nou. His Santos team blitzed Barça, winners of the double the previous season, to the tune of a 5-1 victory.
Santos were by far the best team on the day, and Pelé scored twice, but it should also be noted that it was far from a full-strength team they played that day, manager Helenio Herrera choosing to field a number of less regular faces.
Another goal on his return
Pelé and Santos were back at Camp Nou on 3 July 1960, but this time for a much fairer contest, with Barça playing their strongest XI and winning a classic encounter 4-3.
Luis Suárez and Lazlo Kubala were simply outstanding as the blaugrana, coached at the time by Ljubiša Broćić, went 4-0 up in the first 45 minutes. The second half was a totally different story. Santos came out much stronger, and Pelé shone in particular, contributing a goal to what was very nearly a spectacular comeback.
Forgettable final appearance
The third and final appearance by Pelé at Camp Nou was on 12 June 1963, with Barça winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Pereda and Zaballa.
Pelé had dazzled a year earlier as Brazil retained the World Cup in Chile, but although the Catalan supporters were eager to see him at his best, his performance that night was uncharacteristically poor.
That was 57 years ago. At the time, Pelé was widely acclaimed to be the greatest player the game had ever seen. Few disagreed with that view. But things are every different now. There are been several candidates over the years to have arguably surpassed Pelé, but none have had such a convincing case as Leo Messi. The Argentinian has been pulverising all-time records on a yearly basis, and now he has even beaten one set by Pelé that many thought would be impossible to beat.
But if there is one man who can do the impossible in football, then that man is Leo Messi!
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