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This is an updated version of a previous post, in which I compared finals perfimances of the two greatest football players in the history of the game: Pelé and Messi. I will follow the same criteria as before. Thus, despite disagreeing with the anachronic revisionism of simply disregarding hundreds of Pelé’s goals (click here and read the topic “Because he did score more than 1000 goals), I shall only count here the following official tournaments and its decisive game: Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, French Super Cup, Leagues Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Champion’s League, FIFA World Club Cub, Copa America, CONMEBOL – UEFA Cup of Champions and World Cup, for Messi; Taça Brasil (Brazilian championship), Libertadores (South-American Championship), Intercontinental Cup, and World Cup, for the Brazilian (the only Copa America he participated occurred in a round-robin format). In the tournaments with two legged finals, both games will be featured (and a third rubber match, like it used to happen back in the 60’s).

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PELÉ (champions in bold)

1958 World Cup

06/29/1958 –  Sweden 2 x 5 Brazil – Pelé (2 goals) – At 17 years old, Pelé won and scored 2 goals in the first final he ever played.

1959 Taça Brasil

12/10/1959 – Santos 2 x 3 Bahia –  Pelé (1 goal)

12/30/1959 – Bahia 0 x 2 Santos – Pelé (1 goal)

Pelé did not play in the last game won by Bahia, when the later won the first ever Brazilian title..

1961 Taça Brasil

12/22/1961 – Bahia 1 x 1 Santos.  Pelé did not score (this area will be empty when this happens from now on).

12/27/1961 – Santos 5 x 1 Bahia – Pelé (3 goals)

1962 Copa Libertadores

Pelé did not play the first two games.

08/30/1962 – Santos 3 x 0 Peñarol (2 goals)

1962 Taça Intercontinental de Clubes

09//19/1962 Santos 3 x 2 Benfica – Pelé (2 goals).

10/11/1962 – Benfica 2 x 5 Santos – Pelé (3 goals)

1962 Taça Brasil

03//19/1963 – Santos 4 x 3 Botafogo

03/31/1963 – Botafogo 3 x 1 Santos

04/02/1963 – Botafogo 0 x 5 Santos – Pelé (2 goals)

1963 Copa Libertadores

09/04/1963 Santos 3 x 2 Boca Juniors

09/11/1963 Boca Jrs. 1 x 2 Santos – Pelé (1 goal)

1963 Taça Brasil

01/25/1964 Santos 6 x 0 Bahia– Pelé (2 goals)

01/28/1964 Bahia 0 x 2 Santos – Pelé (2 goals).

1963 Taça Intercontinental de Clubes

11/14/1963 – Milan 4 x 2 Santos (na Itália) – Pelé (2 goals).

Pelé did not play the last two games, when Santos won the title.

1964 Taça Brasil

12/16/1964 – Santos 4 x 0 Flamengo – Pelé (3 goals)

12/19/1964 Flamengo 0 x 0 Santos – the only last decisive game in which Pelé failed to score!

 

1965 Taça Brasil

12/01/1965 – Santos 5 x 1 Vasco

12/08/1965 – Vasco 0 x 1 Santos – Pelé (1 goal).

1966 Taça Brasil

11/30/1966 – Cruzeiro 6 x 2 Santos

12/07/1966 – Santos 2 x 3 Cruzeiro. Pelé (1 goal). At 26 years old, Pelé lost his first and only final when on field!

1970 World Cup

06/21/1970 – Brazil 4 x 1 Italy -Pelé (1 goal).

SUMMARY

14 finals

12 finals won (85.71%)

2 finals lost (14.29%)

23 games

17 wins (73.91%)

1 draw (4.34%)

5 losses (21.73%)

Goals for – 69 (3 per game)

Goals against – 35 (1.52 per game)

Total goals  –  104 (4.52 per game)

Pelé’s goals – 29 gols, in a 1.26 average. 42.02% of his team’s goals and 27.88% of total goals scored.

Hat-tricks – 3 (13.04%)

Games with at least 2 goals – 10 (43.47%)

Games with at least 1 goal – 16 (69.56%)

Games without scoring – 7 (30.43%)

MESSI (champions in bold)

2006 Spanish Super Cup

08//17/2006 – Espanyol 0 x 1 Barcelona. Messi did not score (this area will be empty when this happens from now on).

08/20/2006 – Barcelona 3 x 0 Espanyol. At 19 years old, Messi won his first final when on field in the decisive game.

2006 European Super Cup

08/25/2006 – Barcelona 0 x 3 Sevilla – At 19 years old, Messi lost his first final when on field in the decisive game.

2007 Copa America

07/15/2007 Argentina 0 x 3 Brazil

2009 Copa del Rey

05//132009 – Barcelona 4 x 1 Athletic Bilbao – Messi (1 goal)  – At 22 years old, Messi score his first goal in a final.

2009 Champion’s League

05/27/2009 – Barcelona 2 x 0 Manchester United – Messi (1 goal)

2009 Spanish Super Cup

Messi did not play the first game.

08/23/2009 Barcelona 3 x 0 Athletic – Messi (2 goals)

2009 European Super Cup

08/28/2009 – Barcelona 1 x 0 Shakhtar Donetsk

2009 Club World Cup

12/19/2009 – Barcelona 2 x 1 Estudiantes – Messi (1 goal)

2010 Spanish Super Cup

08/14/2010 – Sevilla 3 x 1 Barcelona

08/21/2010 – Barcelona 4 x 0 Sevilla – Messi (3 goals)

2011 Copa del Rey

04/20/2011 – Barcelona 0 x 1 Real Madrid

2011 Champion’s League

05/28/2011 – Barcelona 3 x 1 Manchester United – Messi (1 goal)

2011 Spanish Super Cup

08/14/2011 – Real Madrid 2 x 2 Barcelona – Messi (1 goal)

08/17/2011 – Barcelona 3 x 2 Real Madrid – Messi (2 goals)

2011 European Super Cup

08/16/2011 – Barcelona 2 x 0 Porto – Messi (1 goal)

2011 Club World Cup

12/18/2011 – Barcelona 4 x 0 Santos – Messi (2 goals)

2012 Copa del Rey

05/25/2012 – Barcelona 3 x 0 Athletic Bilbao – Messi (1 goal)

2012 Spanish Super Cup

08/23/2012 – Barcelona 3 x  2 Real Madrid – Messi (1 goal)

08/29/2012 – Real Madrid 2  x 1 Barcelona – Messi (1 goal)

2013 Spanish Super Cup

08/21/2012 – Atlético de Madrid 1 x 1 Barcelona

08/28/2012 – Barcelona 0 x 0 Atlético de Madrid

2014 Copa del Rey

04/16/2014 – Barcelona 1 x 2 Real Madrid

2014 World Cup

07/13/2014 Argentina 0 x 1 Germany

2015 Copa del Rey

05/30/2015 – Barcelona 3 x 1 Athletic Bilbao – Messi (2 goals)

2015 Champion’s League

06/06/2015 – Barcelona 3 x 1 Juventus

2015 Copa America

07/04/2015 Chile 0 (4) x 0 (1) Argentina

2015 European Super Cup

08/11/2015 – Barcelona 5 x 4 Sevilla – Messi (2 goals)

2015 Spanish Super Cup

08/14/2015 – Athletic Bilbao 4 x 0 Barcelona

08/17/2015 – Barcelona 1 x 1 Athletic Bilbao – Messi (1 goal)

2015 Club World Cup

12/20/2015 – Barcelona 3 x 0 River Plate – Messi (1 goal)

2016 Copa del Rey

05/23/2016 – Barcelona 2 x 0 Sevilla

2016 Copa America

06/26/2016 – Chile 0 (4) x 0 (2) Argentina.

2016 Spanish Super Cup

08/14/2016 – Sevilla 0 x 2 Barcelona 

08/17/2016 – Barcelona 3 x  0 Sevilla – Messi (1 goal)

 

 2017 Copa del Rey

05/27/2017 – Barcelona 3 – 1 Alaves – Messi (1  goal)

 

2017 Spanish Super Cup

08/13/2017 – Barcelona 1 x 3 Real Madrid – Messi (1 goal)

08/16/2017 – Real Madrid 2 x 0 Barcelona

 

2018 Copa del Rey

04/21/2018 – Barcelona 5 x 0 Sevilla – Messi (1 goal)

2018 Spanish Super Cup

08/12/2018 – Barcelona 2 x 1 Sevilla

2019 Copa del Rey

05/25/2019 – Valencia 2 x 1 Barcelona – Messi (1 goal)

2021 Spanish Super Cup

01/17/2021 – Athletic Bilbao 3 x 2 Barcelona

2021 Copa del Rey

04/17/2021 – Barcelona 4 x 0 Athletic Bilbao – Messi (2 goals)

2021 Copa America

07/10/2021 – Argentina 1 x 0 Brazil

CONMEBOL – UEFA Cup of Champions

06/01/2022 – Argentina 3 x 0 Italy

2022  French Super Cup

07/31/2022 – Paris Saint-Germain 4 x 0 FC Nantes – Messi (1 goal)

2022 World Cup

12/18/2022 – Argentina 2 x 2 France  (3 x 3 na prorrogação e 4 x 2 pen.) – Messi (2 goals). Goals scored in extra time do not count for awards, but I don’t see a good explanation not to consider the goal he scored in the extra time of a World Cup Final. Therefore, here the 3 x 3 result with 2 goals from Messi will prevail in the statistics.

2023 Leagues Cup

0819//2023 – Nashville 1 (9) x 1 (10) Inter Miami – Messi (1 goal)

SUMMARY

40 finals

29 finals won (72.5%)

11 finals lost (27.5%)

48 games

28 wins (58.33%)

8 draws (16.66%)

12 losses (25%)

Goals for – 96 (2 per game)

Gols against  – 52 (1.08 per game)

Total goals – 148 (3.28 per game).

Messi’ goals – 35 goals – 0.72 per game (36.45% % from his team’s goals and 23.64% of of total goals scored

Hat-Tricks – 1 (2.08%).

Games with at least 2 goals – 7 (14%)

Games with at least 1 goal – 26 (54%)

Games without scoring – 22 (45%)

As expected, because of their immense talent, they both have impressive numbers. However, Pelé was more regular in finals than Messi both in team and individual performance.

The Brazilian’s teams won 85.71% of its finals against 72.5% by the Argentinian. Pelé’s teams won more and lost less games (only one defeat in a decisive final match with “O Rei” on field).

Pelé also has an edge in individual numbers. He had a goal average of 1.26 per game against 0.72 from Messi, besides, he has has scored in 69.56% of his finals games against 50% by the Argentinian. Furthermore, the Brazilian, incredibly, has not scored only once in a final decisive game (only final game or second leg match); the Argentinian, 18 times.

Likewise, Pelé edges Messi with a small advantage in regard to the percentage of his team’s goals (42.02 x 36.34%) and of total goals scored in those  games (27.88% against 23.64%), a more fair comparison since more goals was scored in Pelé’s era).

Lastly, graphics comparing both great players:

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