Pelé – The Greatest Footballer Of All Time


Edson Arantes do Nascimento (23 October 1940 – 29 December 2022), better known by his stage name Pelé, was a Brazilian professional footballer who played as a forward. He was among the most accomplished and well-known athletes of the 20th century, and FIFA even named him “the greatest” player of all time.

He was named the International Olympic Committee’s Athlete of the Century in 1999, and Time named him one of the 100 most influential individuals of the 20th century. He was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award in 2000 and was chosen by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) as the World’s Best Man Player of the Century. Including friendly, he scored 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which is recognized as a Guinness World Record.

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Pelé – the World’s Best Man Player of the Century

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Early Life.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the son of Fluminense footballer Dondinho (born Joo Ramos do Nascimento), and Celeste Arantes, was born on October 23, 1940, in Três Coraçes, Minas Gerais. He was named after the American inventor Thomas Edison and was the older of two siblings. Due to an error on the birth certificate, numerous records reflect his name as “Edison” rather than his given name, “Edson,” notwithstanding his parents’ decision to drop the I and rename him. His family gave him the nickname “Dico” at first.

When he was in school, it is said that he was given the moniker “Pelé” because of how he mispronounced the name of his favorite player, the local Vasco da Gama goalkeeper Bilé. The more he complained, the longer the term stayed. Pelé claimed in his memoirs that neither he nor his former pals knew the meaning of the name. The word has no recognized Portuguese meaning, with the exception of the claim that it derives from “Bilé” and that “miracle” is its Hebrew equivalent.

In the So Paulo state’s Bauru, Pelé was raised in poverty. He worked as a servant in tea houses to make additional cash. He was taught how to play by his father, but as he couldn’t buy a true football, he typically used a grapefruit or a sock that had been filled with newspaper and knotted with twine. In his younger years, he participated for a number of amateur teams, including Sete de Setembro, Canto do Rio, So Paulinho, and Amériquinha.

Waldemar de Brito’s junior team at Bauru Athletic Club won two So Paulo state youth titles under Pelé’s leadership. He was a member of the Radium indoor football team in his mid-teens. When Pelé started playing indoor football in Bauru, it had just recently gained popularity. He participated in the region’s inaugural futsal (indoor football) match. The inaugural title was won by Pelé and his team, along with several others.

Pelé claimed that futsal (indoor football) posed tremendous challenges since it was faster than traditional football on grass and because players had to think quickly because everyone was so near to one another on the field. Pelé believes that playing futsal has improved his on-the-spot reasoning. When he was about 14 years old, futsal also allowed him to play alongside grownups. Although he was initially deemed too young to compete in one of the tournaments he attended, he ultimately finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with 14 or 15 goals. “That gave me a lot of confidence,” Pelé remarked, “I knew then not to be afraid of whatever might come.”

Club Career.


De Brito brought Pelé to Santos in 1956 to try out for professional team Santos FC, a port and industrial city close to So Paulo. De Brito told the Santos directors that the 15-year-old would be “the greatest football player in the world.” During his trial at the Estádio Vila Belmiro, Pelé made a good impression on Santos coach Lula, and in June 1956, he agreed to a professional deal with the team.

The local media heavily marketed he as a potential superstar. At the age of 15, he made his senior squad debut on September 7, 1956, against Corinthians de Santo André. He put up an excellent performance in the 7-1 win and scored the game’s first goal.

Even though Inter Milan was able to secure him a regular deal in 1958, Angelo Moratti was compelled to renege on the agreement at the chairman of Santos’ request as a result of a Santos fan uprising. A deal that would have brought Pelé to Valencia CF following the 1958 World Cup was also negotiated by Valencia CF, but Santos refused to allow the player to leave due to his performances at the tournament. Pelé was designated a “official national treasure” by the Brazilian government in 1961, under President Jânio Quadros, to prevent his transfer outside of the nation.

With Santos, Pelé earned his first major championship in 1958 as the team won the Campeonato Paulista. He finished the competition as the tournament’s leading scorer with 58 goals, a mark that is still in use today. He would assist the squad in their first triumph in the Torneio Rio-Sao Paulo the following year, a 3-0 victory over Vasco da Gama. Santos, however, was unable to defend his Paulista crown.

In the 1960 campaign, Pelé led Santos to victory in the Campeonato Paulista with 47 goals. After defeating Bahia in the championship match, the team went on to win the Taça Brasil that year. Pelé led all goal scorers with nine goals. Santos was able to compete in the Copa Libertadores, the most important club competition in the Western Hemisphere, thanks to the triumph.

1962 marked the commencement of Santos’ most prosperous Copa Libertadores campaign. The team, seeded in Group One with Cerro Porteo and Deportivo Municipal Bolivia, won all but one of their group games (a 1–1 away tie versus Cerro). In the finals, Santos faced the defending winners Pearol after defeating Universidad Católica in the semifinals. Pelé scored twice in the playoff game to give Brazil’s team their first championship.

Santos automatically advanced to the 1963 Copa Libertadores semifinal round as the defending champions. After victories over Botafogo and Boca Juniors, Santos for Pelé, known as the ballet blanco, was able to hold onto the championship. With a last-second goal in the first leg of the semi-finals that tied the score at 1-1, Pelé assisted Santos in their victory over a Botafogo team that included legendary Brazilian players like Garrincha and Jairzinho. Santos started the final series by winning, 3–2, in the first leg and defeating Boca Juniors 1–2, in La Bombonera.

With another goal from Pelé, it was an exceptional accomplishment in official contests. [36] Santos made history by becoming the first (and, as of this writing, only) Brazilian team to win the Copa Libertadores on Argentine soil. Pelé scored five goals in total to win the competition. Santos finished third in the Campeonato Paulista and was eliminated but went on to win the Rio-Sao Paulo competition after defeating Flamengo 0-3 in the championship game, with one goal scored by Pelé. Against AC Milan and Bahia, respectively, Pelé would also help Santos defend the Intercontinental Cup and the Taça Brasil.

Independiente defeated Santos in both halves of the semi-finals of the 1964 Copa Libertadores. With 34 goals, Pelé led the team to the Campeonato Paulista championship. Santos won the Taça Brasil for a fourth consecutive year in addition to sharing the Rio-Sao Paulo championship with Botafogo.

Santos advanced to the semi-finals of the 1965 Copa Libertadores, where they faced Pearol in a rematch of the 1962 championship game. A playoff was required to break the deadlock after two games.

Because Cruzeiro (led by Tosto) won the championship series 9-4, Pelé and Santos were unable to defend the Taça Brasil in 1966 despite Pelé’s goals. But the team did succeed in 1967, 1968, and 1969, taking home the Campeonato Paulista. In a moment that was eagerly awaited in Brazil, Pelé scored his 1,000th goal in all competitions on November 19, 1969. The goal, known as O Milésimo (The Thousandth), was scored by Pelé from a penalty kick in a game at the Maracana Stadium against Vasco da Gama.

In order to watch Pelé play in an exhibition match in Lagos in 1969, the two sides in the Nigerian Civil War agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire. Stationary Stores FC of Lagos and Santos ultimately played to a 2-2 draw, with Pelé scoring both of his team’s goals. Following this game, the civil war continued for an additional year.

Pelé played with many talented players during his time at Santos, including Zito, Pepe, and Coutinho, who frequently teamed up with him in one-two plays, attacks, and goals. Up until December 2020, Lionel Messi of Barcelona held the record for the most goals ever scored for a single club, surpassing Pelé’s 643 goals for Santos.

New York Cosmos.

Pelé left Brazilian club football after the 1974 season (his 19th with Santos), however he occasionally still played for Santos in legitimate competitive games. In order to sign with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (NASL) for the 1975 season, he emerged from semi-retirement a year later.

The Cosmos debuted Pelé at a raucous press presentation at New York’s 21 Club. Pelé was acknowledged for considerably raising interest in sport in the US, despite being well past his prime at this point. He was hurt by a group of admirers who had encircled him during his first public appearance in Boston and taken to the hospital on a stretcher.

On June 15, 1975, against the Dallas Tornado at Downing Stadium, Pelé made his professional debut for the Cosmos, scoring one goal in a 2-2 draw. Numerous more celebrities were able to play in North America because to Pelé. Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, and Carlos Alberto, a former Santos teammate, all followed him to the Cosmos.

In a friendly match against a side of Lebanese Premier League stars in 1975, one week before the Lebanese Civil War, Pelé scored two goals that were not counted toward his official tally. 40,000 fans showed up at the stadium early on the day of the game to see the game.

In his third and final season with the team, Pelé led the Cosmos to the 1977 Soccer Bowl. By leading the New York Cosmos to their second Soccer Bowl championship with a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders at the Civic Stadium in Portland, Oregon, Pelé concluded his professional playing career.

On October 1, 1977, Pelé played his final game for the Cosmos and Santos in an exhibition game. The game was broadcast live across the world on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and was played in front of a sold-out crowd at Giants Stadium. Along with Muhammad Ali and Bobby Moore, Pelé’s father and wife were all present for the game.

“Love is more important than what we can take in life,” Pelé said to the crowd before the game began. Pelé played the first half with the Cosmos and the second half with Santos. The Cosmos won the match 2-1, and Pelé scored his final goal of his career with a 30-yard free kick for the Cosmos. It began to rain during the second half, which led a Brazilian newspaper to publish the headline “Even The Sky Was Crying” the next day.

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