Edson Arantes do Nascimento renown as Pelé was born in Três Coraçes, Brazil on October 23, 1940. He is a great sports personality and a legendary soccer player who conquered the game and was branded the ‘King of Football.’ He is still considered the finest player ever by football fans, analysts, experts, and current and former players. In 1,363 games, he scored 1,281 goals with his exquisite style and dazzling play. He was noted for his strong shot and unwavering goal-scoring abilities. He was a prominent player for Santos and the Brazilian national team. During his career, he set several records, some of which are still unbeaten.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento was the first child born to João Ramos and Dona Celeste in Três Corações, Brazil, on October 23, 1940. Both Pelé and his father “Dondinho,” the better-known João Ramos, were raised in impoverished circumstances. While still a child, Pelé and his family relocated to the city of Bauru, where he was nicknamed “Dico.” After playing around Bauru’s city streets for years with old socks filled with trash, the youngster gained some basic soccer skills. However, he remembers despising the “Pelé” moniker from his buddies when they initially called him that. Pelé was a young player when Waldemar de Brito, a former Brazilian national soccer team member, coached him in a juvenile soccer league. When Pelé was 15, De Brito persuaded his mentor’s family to allow the blossoming star to try out for the Santos professional soccer team instead of staying home with his parents.
Pelé joined Santos and soon started training with the team regularly. The youngster made his professional debut at the age of 16 and was picked to play for the Brazilian national team. Pelé made his debut at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. The 17-year-old scored three goals in a 5-2 semifinal triumph against France and two more in a 5-2 final win over the home country. As a result, Brazil went on to win their second consecutive World Cup in Chile. Four years later, he pulled off the field with leg injuries in England, and Brazil was eliminated from the World Cup after one round.
Even though Pelé announced his retirement from soccer in 1974, the North American Soccer League (NASL) benefited greatly from his return to the pitch the following year when he played for the New York Cosmos. He retired in October 1977 after playing for both New York and Santos in an exhibition against each other and scoring 1,281 goals. Indeed Pele gave his all to every game on the field and has been unblemished since his debut. During his nearly two-decade career, he put on some incredible shows that boosted the game’s popularity. Despite his amazing on-field flair, Pele is considered the ultimate humanitarian for raising his voice to improve underprivileged living standards and social situations.
Pelé joins the squad in 1957 and immediately becomes the league's top scorer, earning him a position on the Brazilian national team.
Pele scores six goals in four games, a career-high in the 1958 World Cup quarter-finals, semifinals, and finals.
In 1962, he has the finest year as a Santos coach, leading them to win three trophies, including a dramatic Copa Libertadores win in front of a screaming home crowd.
He scores his 1000th goal from the penalty spot against Vasco da Gama at the Maracana Stadium.
Following his spectacular soccer career, he is named a UN envoy for ecology and the environment.
He becomes a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO.
Why We Love Pelé
He's a Brazilian national treasure — literally
Honestly, Pelé is a national treasure in every sense of the word. In 1961, the Brazilian government designated him a national hero to keep him from being taken by international football clubs.
He once stopped a war
In 1967, all sides in Nigeria's civil conflict agreed to a 48-hour cease-fire so Pelé could play an exhibition match in Lagos, the country's capital. Kissinger mentioned this in a “Time” magazine article from 1999.
He was friends with Nelson Mandela
To celebrate the South African president's 89th birthday in 2007, Pelé canceled a family vacation to play in the "90 Minutes for Mandela" charity match, where he presented a signed jersey to Mandela.
5 Surprising Facts
He's named after Thomas Edison
His parents named him Edson after Thomas Edison, Pelé stated in a September 2014 tweet.
His first contract was far from lucrative
On his first deal with Santos in 1956, at the age of 15, Pelé earned barely $10 a month.
Kissinger persuaded him to play in the U.S.
The former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, flew to Sao Paulo to persuade Pelé to play again for the New York Cosmos after he resigned from the Brazilian national team and Santos in 1974.
He has a prestigious title
In 1999, the International Olympic Committee voted Pelé as the: Athlete of the Century.
He is a Knight
In 1997, Pelé was given an honorary British Knighthood.
How many hat-tricks did Pele score in his career?
When he played for Santos, New York Cosmos, and Brazil, Pelé scored 92 hat-tricks.
What club did Pele play for?
Pele’s achievements and accolades are numerous. Aside from international play, Pele had a successful club career in Brazil with Santos and the New York Cosmos.
Did Pele play for Real Madrid?
No, he did not. Pele actually never played for any European team.
Pelé’s birthday dates