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Column #83

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-09-26 01:54:22

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Two of the greatest footballers to ever grace the four lines — A brief comparison between the Hungarian György Orth and the Brazilian Pelé.

Since 1863, football has produced players with different characteristics; diverse qualities; different levels. Among these players, some were so spectacular that they left their mark on history. Unfortunately, some of those, who were previously considered the epitome of football, are no longer remembered or their true level is no longer known. The Hungarian György Orth, for example, is an excellent quote about the previous sentence, as could mention other great footballers, such as Walter Arnott, Nick Ross, Jimmy Crabtree, Ernest Needham, Bobby Walker, Héctor Scarone, Alex James, etc.
I, however, due to the series of questions I receive, decided to separate this article to make a comparison between the Hungarian György Orth and the Brazilian Pelé.
In this brief comparison, I will comment on some attributes that make up a footballer's individual career, especially the technical, tactical, physical — athletic — aspects. TWO VERY WELL PREPARED FOOTBALLERS.
Needham said that a player must always remain focused on his physique, further increasing his athletic conditions. Therefore, a physically prepared player will always have an advantage over others who are more sloppy, regardless of the era. Constant training to stay constant — and that was an aspect that was too inherent for both of these footballers. They were, as this section says, very well prepared for each battle.
Pelé was a short footballer, but much more physical, robust and resistant than Orth. Pelé had great speed, in addition to having impressive impulsion for aerial duels. In many moves, the Brazilian, when accelerating, tended to use physical strength to overcome his opponents. Orth, in turn, was not a fast player, no, and not even adept at physical play, even though he was a very well built and tall player. Both were always very prepared while training, always focusing on staying fit for each match. However, in the case of Orth, as mentioned before, the hungarian did not use much of his physique in his play style. The only attributes I could actually highlight regarding the Hungarian is that he could easily head the ball, due to his height, and could protect the ball very well when marked, too.
I consider Pelé more capable than Orth in physical and athletic matters. MASTERS OF THE SPHERE.
Both were technically oustanding footballers. They had advanced technique with both legs — completely ambidextrous — and had precision with their heads.
They mastered the ball perfectly, both used to have unique control. Whichever way the ball was thrown, both killed it with extreme ease, no matter how difficult it was a movement.
Orth was a true master of the ball, he had an artistic style, a unique, unmistakable technical gesture, a distinctive style and class that Pelé did not have. Orth appeared to have a more extensive repertoire of ball control than Pelé, being able to even, in just a few seconds, dominate the ball and execute a dribble.
Commenting on the dribbling, they were players with different characteristics. Pelé was a very precise dribbling player, constantly changing direction and speed in his actions. Consequently, making it extremely easy for Brazilians to carry out their individual actions. He, moreover, had an extensive repertoire of dribbles and feints, possessing trademarks such as sombreros and nutmegs. Orth didn't have as much speed in his dribbling, and not even Pelé's ability to leave several opponents behind in a long run. Orth's dribbling was more refined, his manner subtle and he simply relied on his impressive and refined technique. Orth was an inventive player, with a much larger repertoire of tricks and flair than Pelé. A true wizard on the field. He used to glide between the rushing opponents in such a way that made everyone look and stare.
An identical characteristic of both was the fact that they could change direction extremely easily, through their ambidextrous qualities and turns carried out with extreme precision and speed.
Due to the rich valences and variations, both the Hungarian and the Brazilian were oustanding shooters. Blessed with excellent timing, precision and strength, they were dangerous players who could send balls from very far away from the opponent's box.
Pelé was a complete shooter, in any position and angle he would be a danger to opposing defenses. Through his powerful shots, the ball hit the net with such force that the opposing goalkeeper, in vain, did not have enough reaction time to defend it. In the aerial game, the Brazilian stood out through his acrobatics, especially bycicle kicks, and his powerful and precise headers. Furthermore, he, if he had space to shoot from very far away, had too many chances to add goals to the scoreboard. Orth wasn't much different in this aspect, although I see that Pelé had more strength in his shot.
In terms of the pass, there is not the slightest comparison in this aspect. Orth was, at first, a passer, an excellent passer with a very extensive range of variations. Orth passed in any way, with precision, exceptional timing, and the force perfectly applied to any pass; being a long or short pass; being a pass through the ground, medium or high ball. With any part of his two feet, any angle his body was in — and even with the back of his head — Orth orchestrated, launched and dictated plays through his precise passes.
Pelé also had a great range of passes, especially in the last blocks of the field; being, therefore, considered not only an excellent goalscorer, but an exceptional player to assist his co-équipier.
However, in terms of passing, there is not the slightest comparison between them. GENIUSES OF THE TACTICAL FIELD.
Pelé was a left inside forward, the inside forward spear-head, the only one in the standard 4-2-4 tactical organization. He was a player focused only on the offensive sphere, he moved everywhere in the last blocks, especially being centralized. Pelé was a player with great positional awareness, an advanced tactical footballer. He not only possessed tactical awareness of his own but that of his comrades, too.
Orth, in turn, was a much more tactically advanced footballer than Pelé, especially in terms of versatility in a standard tactical organization. Regarding this, there is not the slightest aspect to compare. Orth stood out in all positions during his time, he could be extraklasse in any position on the field, but he shined even more as a centre-forward. Not only was he an extraordinary footballer in the offensive sphere, he was also an extraordinary footballer in the defensive sphere, in the spectrum of the defensive system.
The Hungarian moved around different parts of the field, even when acting as a centre-forward. In such a way, he always moved his markers. Orth often attracted players to the same space, thus leaving a teammate completely free. There were moments when he seemed completely disconnected from the match, he seemed to be hovering over his body, perceiving the tactical plan, the next movement. In one quick move, his seemingly sluggish movement turned into a violent rush and the genius would decide the fate.
As for his own tactical perception, Orth had a third eye, the eye that allowed him to see exactly where his opponents and teammates were, even when they were running. It was impressive, it seemed like the Hungarian felt exactly which movement the players were going to make. It was quite common for Orth to carry out collective actions without even seeing where a teammate was, for instance. Blessed with unparalleled reasoning, he was always 4-5 moves ahead of anyone. He was a highly intelligent player, with a very keen positional sense. Orth was almost never poorly positioned. His intelligence was so absurd that he resolved the most complex situations with impressive ease. This was a completely unpredictable player.
As for tactical perception, it would even be a sin to compare them: György Orth.
There isn't much to comment on in this regard, as Orth was a much superior player tactically than Pelé. This footballer's tactical perception was completely astonishing. Even when he didn't notice a player behind him, almost in a supernatural way, Orth executed an artistic pass, thus creating a clear scoring chance for his co-équipier. His clarity on the field, cunning and repertoire of tricks aligned with his delicate, subtle, unique touch were the components of his genius. The public expected the most common movement, but the epitome of the Hungarian talent saw things that others did not. CONCLUSION
Both began as footballers of polished talent at the end of their respective decades and reached the epitome of their football in the first half of the following decade. Orth was from a time when few goals were scored, due to the constant abuse, by defensive systems, of the old offside rule — One-back-system and improvement of tactical sense by the full-backs. The Hungarian star, moreover, witnessed the peak of MTK and its decline, as Hungarian stars migrated to neighboring nations. In the first half of the 1920s, Hungary was widely regarded as the third power in Central Europe, below even other major teams in world football. Pelé, in turn, was from a time when goals came much more easily than in Orth's time. His club, Santos F.C., was one of the main teams in the world, but largely because of his football. During the period in which Pelé played, his national team was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best team in the world. The Seleção Brasileira during Pelé's time was so good that it could have been world champion without Pelé himself.
The same cannot be said of Orth, who was seen as an essential piece of the Hungarian gear, an irreplaceable footballer for Magyarország — and this was stated several times by Gyula Kiss and Dr. Lajos Mariássy. In contrast, the 1962 world champion coach, Aymoré Moreira, stated in an interview that Brazil did not depend on Pelé and that he could be left out of the team.
I see that there was much more dependence on Orth for Hungary than Pelé for Brazil.
Concluding the comparison, bringing together all the characteristics that make up a footballer's individual career, what puts Pelé ahead of Orth is longevity. There is no point in a player being spectacular, but only performing such exceptional feats for a short period of time. Orth had a career that was marked by a series of injuries, in fact, but the Hungarian demonstrated a football never seen before when he was minimally conditioned. He, moreover, was seriously injured at just 24 years old, when he had not yet reached his true potential. Pelé had a much longer and more regular career. However, just talking about ability as a footballer, I don't see a comparison between the two, as I see Orth as a more absurd player than Pelé was. Overall, I classify Pelé — and only because of his longevity — as a superior player.
This quote from László Feleki may minimally reflect what Orth was like as a player.
— He (Orth) was the player whom everyone from Jimmy Hogan to Béla Guttmann called the greatest footballer ever born. Those who have seen him will not put a crown on Pelé's head either.