Edson Arantes do Nascimento was born on 23 October 1940. He is known as Pelé and is a Brazilian former professional footballer. Pelé played as a forward. He is seen as one of the best players of all time and is labelled ‘the greatest’ by FIFA and was amongst the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century.
In 1999 Pelé was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. He was included in Time’s list of the 100 most important individuals of the 20th century. In 2000, Pelé was voted as the World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century. His 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which included friendlies, is recognised as a Guinness World Record.
His Early Career
After playing for a minor league club in Bauru, São Paulo state, Pelé was passed over by major club teams in the city of São Paulo. In 1956, nevertheless, he signed up at the Santos Football Club, which, with Pelé at inside left forward, bagged nine São Paulo league championships and, in 1962 and 1963, both the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup. At times called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), he turned into a Brazilian national hero.
He blended kicking power and accuracy with a notable ability to foresee other players’ moves. After the 1958 World Cup, Pelé was proclaimed to be a national treasure by the Brazilian government in order to ward off big offers from European clubs and make sure that he would stay in Brazil. On 19 November 1969, in his 909th first-class match, Pelé scored his 1 000th goal.
A World-Class Football Player
With the Brazilian national team, Pelé appeared in four World Cups, figuring in Brazil’s unparalleled three victories between the years of 1958 and 1970. Pelé retired from Santos in 1974 however a year later, a multi-million-dollar offer lured this player back into the game in order to play for the New York Cosmos as a North American league tried to spread soccer to the United States. His second and final retirement from football came in October 1977.
He scored his thousandth goal in 1969 while playing in Rio de Janeiro’s celebrated Maracana Stadium, a goal which he dedicated to the “children of Brazil.” In the end, Pelé would score 1279 goals in 1362 games.
Pelé’s significance in Brazil is of such magnitude that some people have claimed that he would be elected president if he ever elected to be a candidate, although in his country in spite of its Black and Mestizo majority, has elected only light-skinned presidents. In 1993, President Cardoso chose Pelé for the position of Minister of Sports. Pelé’s fame reached far beyond the confines of Brazil as well as sports.
Pelé is seen by many to have been the most complete soccer player in the history of the game and was repeatedly elected as the most outstanding athlete of the twentieth century.