Pele claimed referee ‘sent himself off’ due to abuse for red-carding Brazil icon

Pele made some ludicrous claims throughout his career – and one of them included a referee 'sending himself off' for giving the footballing icon a red card.

The Brazil legend has died at the age of 82 following a battle with colon cancer. Daughter Kely Nascimento announced his death on social media and it has caused widespread grief throughout the world.

There is no denying the greatness of Pele, who is the only man to have won three World Cups and is arguably the best player of all time. However, from time to time there have been outrageous claims made over his career.

READ MORE: Pele among only five foreign footballers given UK honour by the Queen

One of them included a wild shout on Twitter where Pele wrote that a referee once sent himself off after giving him a red card – because the crowd gave him so much abuse.

He tweeted back in August, 2018: "I once got sent off in a game against Colombia. The decision was so unpopular with the crowd that the referee then sent himself off!"

While it appears to be a bit unbelievable, a Spanish report from El Epectador seems to somewhat confirm that there is a degree of truth to the story. While the referee did indeed leave the pitch, it appears that it was hardly because of Pele's own red card.

Instead, the report insists that the referee sent Pele off for insulting the official's mother. It led to chaos with his team-mates attacking the referee with the crowd threatening to invade the pitch.

The referee had to flee the scene and seek medical assistance while Pele remained on the pitch – even going on to score twice in a 4-2 win. At full-time, the team was taken into custody instead of returning to their hotel.

A police report had been filed by the referee, who had to point out what players attacked him after they lined up against the wall.

Pele was asked why he returned to the pitch despite being sent off and reportedly answered: "I was just answering the people's calling, who had paid to watch a show."

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