Archive. Football. Statistic & History
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Column #43

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-12-05 16:30:53

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
There is a topic that I wish I had talked about a long time ago, as I am constantly asked about it, and I myself see this issue growing lately. One publication made me want to write about this topic. The topic is about assists from players from more remote decades. Well, lately, I've seen some statistics about old players, mainly the most famous ones, like Pelé, Ferenc Puskás, Alfredo Di Stéfano, and even older players like Matthias Sindelar, György Sárosi and among others.
I don't know if those who publish this kind of thing do it to deceive others or just don't have knowledge about it. Honestly, I tend to laugh when I see this kind of thing. Going for a straight answer: it's impossible to have a legitimate source on the number of assists for these older players. This is simply and easily explained in the question where the sources reporting the goal are miles away from being accurate.
I will give some examples. When it is reported that Moreno performed a play with Pedernera, the ball went to Labruna and the inside left scored for River Plate, most likely a lot more happened in this narrative. Another example: Pelé connects with Pepe, the left winger centralizes for Coutinho and Santos' centre-forward scores the goal. In this last description, it has happened several times that the ball has been deflected or cut by a defender and then Coutinho scored the goal.
This is not something subjective, it is not a matter of opinion. This was how things worked in the old days, either because the term "assist" was not directly related to the last pass; either because the chronicler missed the player who gave the last pass — which happened very often; or because the chronicler did not mention the complete play — which also happened very often.
This is why ARFSH does not and will not add content that points to assists from old players, as ARFSH does not work with incomplete or false information.