Brazil football legend Pele has died at the age of 82. He has been in a hospital in Sao Paulo since November 29 after complications with colon cancer, which was diagnosed in September 2021.

The forward is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, however, he never played club football in Europe. The three-time World Cup champion only played for two clubs throughout his incredible career, Santos in his native Brazil and the American squad New York Cosmos.

Also Read | When Pele, Bobby Moore, remembered for iconic shirt swap in Mexico 70, starred in a Sylvester Stallone movie

For many football players, play at the highest level of European football and winning tournaments like the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or is the ultimate goal.

There have been several stories about clubs who attempted and failed to sign Pele, most significantly in the immediate aftermath of the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. This includes prominent clubs such as Manchester United and Valencia, but the one name that comes up the most is Real Madrid.

Also Read | Who is Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi, Pele’s first wife?

Pele once said “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,” he added.

Also Read | Pele’s message on Diego Maradona’s death finally comes true as Brazilian football star dies at 82

In addition to Napoli, Pele was also close to signing contracts with Juventus and Inter Milan. The forward disclosed his connection to the former in an Instagram post back in 2018, when he congratulated Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo on his move from Real Madrid to Turin. “Good luck, Cristiano, for your first game with Juve. Had things worked out differently, I may have played for the Old Lady too. Over dinner one evening in 1961, the owner of Fiat offered the President of Santos FC a million dollars to sign me! I only played in Santos’ stripes though,” he said.

Also Read | Who is Clive Toye, journalist and soccer administrator who brought Pele to New York Cosmos?

In 1958, Inter succeeded in coming to terms with Pele which would have seen him move to the San Siro, but when the news spread Santos’ supporters began to protest.