Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Brazilian Portuguese: 23 October 1940 – 29 December 2022), known mononymously as Pelé (Portuguese pronunciation: [peˈlɛ]), was a Brazilian professional footballer who played as a forward. He was one of the most successful and popular sports stars of the 20th century, regarded as one of the best players of all time, and dubbed "the greatest" by FIFA. In 1999, he was voted Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee, and he was selected as one of Time's 100 most important people of the twentieth century. In 2000, the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) selected Pelé World Player of the Century, and he was also awarded FIFA Player of the Century. His total of 1,279 goals in 1,363 games (including friendly matches) is a Guinness World Record.
Pele joined Santos at the age of 15 and the Brazil national team at the age of 16. Throughout his international career, he was the only player to win three FIFA World Cups, in 1958, 1962, and 1970. Following the 1958 tournament, he was given the nickname O Rei (The King). Pele is Brazil's joint-leading goalscorer, with 77 in 92 matches. With 643 goals in 659 appearances for Santos, he was the club's all-time leading scorer. In 1962 and 1963, he led Santos to the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup. Pele is credited with popularising the phrase "The Beautiful Game" with his "electrifying skill and fondness for spectacular goals," and his teams traveled globally to capitalize on his fame. During his playing career, Pele was the highest-paid athlete in the world for a while. After retiring in 1977, Pele became a global football ambassador and pursued several acting and business enterprises.Early Years
Pelé was born on October 23, 1940, in Três Coraçes, Minas Gerais, Brazil, to Fluminense player Dondinho (born Joo Ramos do Nascimento) and Celeste Arantes. He was the eldest of two siblings and was named after American scientist Thomas Edison. His parents opted to drop the I and call him "Edson," but a mistake on the birth certificate caused numerous records to list his name as "Edison," rather than "Edson," as he was. His family gave him the moniker "Dico" at first. In school, he was given the nickname "Pelé" for mispronouncing the name of his favorite player, local Vasco da Gama goalie Bilé, which he misspoke, but the more he argued, the more it stuck. Pelé confessed in his autobiography that he and his old friends had no idea what the moniker signified. Apart from the claim that the name is derived from "Bilé" and that it is Hebrew for "wonder", the term has no recognized Portuguese meaning.
When the 1957 season began, Pelé was handed a starting spot in the first squad and, at the age of 16, became the league's leading scorer. The adolescent was called up to the Brazil national team ten months after registering professionally. Following the 1958 and 1962 World Cups, wealthy European clubs such as Real Madrid, Juventus, and Manchester United sought in vain to recruit him. Inter Milan even got him a regular contract in 1958. Still, Angelo Moratti was forced to rip it up at the behest of Santos' chairman after a mutiny by Santos' Brazilian fans.International career
Pelé came to Sweden with a knee injury, but upon his return from the treatment room, his teammates united and urged for his inclusion. His debut encounter came against the Soviet Union in the third round of the 1958 FIFA World Cup, where he assisted Vavá's second goal. He was the youngest player ever to compete in the World Cup at the time. Brazil led France 2-1 at halftime in the semi-final, and then Pelé scored a hat-trick, becoming the World Cup's youngest player to do so.
On June 29, 1958, at the age of 17 years and 249 days, Pelé became the youngest player to play in a World Cup final match. He scored twice in the final as Brazil defeated Sweden 5-2 in Stockholm. Pelé struck the post before Vavá scored twice to put Brazil ahead. Pelé's first goal, in which he flicked the ball over a defender before volleying into the corner of the net, was named one of the finest in World Cup history. Following Pelé's second goal, Swedish midfielder Sigvard Parling would later add, "When Pelé scored the fifth goal in the Final, I have to be honest and admit I felt like clapping". He soon recovered and was moved to tears by the win as his teammates applauded him.1962 World Cup
Pelé was the best-rated player in the world when the 1962 World Cup began. Against Mexico in the first match of the 1962 World Cup in Chile, Pelé assisted the first goal and then scored the second after a run past four players to put Chile up 2-0. In the following game, he was hurt while trying a long-range shot against Czechoslovakia. This would keep him out of the competition for the remainder of the day, forcing coach Aymoré Moreira to make his lone roster change of the day. Amarildo was the replacement, and he did well for the rest of the competition. Garrincha, on the other hand, would take the lead and lead Brazil to their second World Cup victory after defeating Czechoslovakia in the final in Santiago. Before FIFA criteria were revised in 1978 to include the complete team, only players who competed in the final were eligible for a medal, with Pelé getting his winner's medal retrospectively in 2007.1966 World Cup
During the 1966 World Cup in England, Pelé was the most renowned player in the world, and Brazil fielded some world champions like Garrincha, Gilmar, and Djalma Santos, along with other talents like Jairzinho, Tosto, and Gérson, leading to high expectations for them. After only three matches, Brazil was eliminated in the first round. The World Cup was remembered, among other things, for the Bulgarian and Portuguese defenders' violent fouls on Pelé, which left him wounded.1970 World Cup
Pelé was called up to the national squad in early 1969 and first declined, but later agreed and played in six World Cup qualification matches, scoring six goals. Pelé was planning to retire after the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Brazil's tournament team had significant changes from the 1966 squad. Among those who had previously retired were Garrincha, Nilton Santos, Valdir Pereira, Djalma Santos, and Gilmar. However, the Brazilian World Cup team of 1970, which had players like Pelé, Rivelino, Jairzinho, Gérson, Carlos Alberto Torres, Tosto, and Clodoaldo, is often recognized as the finest football team in history.