Football: Pele tops our poll for the Hall of Fame

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The Independent Online
Nobody ever doubted who would be the first player through the door of the International Football Hall of Fame. Pele won the World Cup with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970, was awarded 92 caps and scored 77 international goals. He hit 1,283 goals at the top level, 12 of them in World Cup finals alone.

More than 500,000 people voted in our campaign to help set up football's first ever International Hall of Fame and Pele is the man who finished top of the poll as the greatest footballer of all time.

Second position went to George Best, who thrilled fans during the 1960s with Matt Busby's European Cup-winning Manchester United team.

Third place went to Best's Old Trafford team-mate, Bobby Charlton, World Cup winner in 1966 and one of the game's enduring statesmen. He was never booked and his 49 England goals remains the modern benchmark.

Fourth was the Dutch master, Johan Cruyff. To this day, schoolchildren are taught the "Cruyff Turn" in honour of a hugely talented player who went on to coach at the highest level.

In fifth place is Bobby Moore, England's 1966 World Cup captain, who died at the age of 51 in 1993. Moore's accomplished style marked him out as a central defender years ahead of his time.

The five men nominated by our 500,000 votes make a fine foundation for the International Football Hall of Fame, which will be built in Manchester.

Best said: "I am absolutely thrilled to have been chosen by the public for a place in the International Football Hall of Fame. Considering the company I'm keeping in the top five - and that I never actually played in a World Cup - it's a bit of a compliment."

A further 20 entrants for the Hall of Fame will be selected by a panel of international journalists. They will be announced at a press conference today.


Hall of Fame

1 Pele

2 George Best

3 Bobby Charlton

4 Johan Cruyff

5 Bobby Moore

Future Hall of Fame

1 Diego Maradona

2 Alan Shearer

3 Ronaldo

4 George Weah

5 David Beckham