Lionel Messi still needs another 448 goals to break Pele's goal-scoring record for a single club, according to the Brazilian icon's former team Santos.
The initial belief was Messi eclipsed the revered record when he netted his 644th goal for Barcelona in a 3-0 over Real Valladolid last week. Even Pele congratulated Messi, with the 80-year-old three-time World Cup winner saying that "I admire you very much."
However, Santos disputed the achievement by issuing a statement Sunday saying Pele's scoring record in friendly matches should be counted, meaning the official record stands at 1,091 goals.
"In the last few days, there has been a lot of talk in the media and on social media about how many goals Pele scored in a Santos shirt," the club said, as translated by ESPN.
"According to some statistics, the Argentine Lionel Messi (Barcelona) became the player with the most goals for a single club, when he scored 644 for the Catalans, excluding friendlies - which some call official goals. Pele has already congratulated Barcelona's No. 10: 'Stories like ours, of love for the same clubs for so long, sadly, will keep becoming rarer in football,' O Rei [The King] wrote on social media.
"However, part of the media report the total, while excluding the best record of all: The total number of goals for the clubs. Pele scored 1,091 for Santos.
"In the expert press accounts, O Rei scored 643 in competitive matches and the 448 goals scored in friendly matches and tournaments were ostracised as if they hold less value."
According to BBC Sport, the Brazilian club added, "A goal against Transvaal (from Suriname) has the same value as a goal scored at Real Madrid, in the middle of the Santiago Bernabeu."