Looking Back At The Incredible Career Of Football Legend Pelé

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The football world is in mourning after the passing of one of the beautiful game legends. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known simply as Pelé, died on December 29 following a battle with colon cancer.

Many regard Pelé as one of football’s best-ever players, with FIFA labeling the Brazilian as the greatest of all time. Pelé was 82 years old.

Pelé was born on October 23, 1940 in Tres Coracoes, Brazil. His parents Celeste Arantes and former footballer Dondinho named him after the American inventor Thomas Edison. However, during Pelé’s school years, his friends nicknamed him Pelé.

Legend has it that his favorite player was Vasco da Gama, goalkeeper Bilé, and the young Pelé had trouble pronouncing his name. The nickname stuck and was forever known as Pelé.

The young Pelé grew up in poverty, and his family could not afford a football, so he played with a sock stuffed with newspaper or a grapefruit. Little did anyone know back then that his situation would spur Pelé on to become the greatest football player that ever lived.

Pelé would undoubtedly cost a world record fee if he had played in today’s era and would have people who enjoy online sports betting clambering to bet on him scoring goals in every game he played. His rise from rags to riches made Pelé all the more endearing.

Turning Professional Aged Only 15

Looking Back At The Incredible Career Of Football Legend Pelé

In his early teens, Pelé began playing futsal (indoor football), a game that plays much faster than on grass and requires superior dribbling skills due to the players being grouped closer together. He excelled in this format, scoring many goals and earning a reputation among older teens and adults as one of the best players in their games.

His futsal coach, Waldemar de Brito, took Pelé to Santos FC in 1956, when Pelé was only 15 years old. de Brito told the Santos coaching staff that Pelé would become the greatest football player in the world. Pelé impressed during his trial, was given a contract, and made his first team debut aged only 15 years old; he scored on his debut.

Pelé became a prolific goalscorer thanks to enjoying a powerful and accurate shot with both feet, and he was surprisingly good in the air, surprising because he was only 5ft 8in. He had terrific dribbling ability and exceptional vision, which allowed him to create chances for his teammates.

Pelé scored 41 goals in 38 games during his first full season despite being a 16-year-old in the men’s game. His obvious talent caught the eye of the Brazilian national team coach. Pelé made his international debut on July 7, 1957, scoring in a 2-1 defeat against Argentina.

He was only 16 years and nine months old, making him Brazil’s youngest-ever goalscorer, a record that still stands today.

Lifting the World Cup Three Times

Pelé was instrumental in Brazil winning the 1958 World Cup, scoring six goals in four games.

He won the World Cup again in 1962 and a third time in 1970 and remains to this day the only player to lift the coveted World Cup trophy three times. In addition, he is one of only five players to have scored at four World Cup finals.

The late legend spent most of his career with Santos FC, the Brazilian team he joined as a young boy. Pelé made 659 appearances, scoring 643 goals, before moving to New York Cosmos in 1975 until 1977.

He scored another 66 goals in 107 games, plus 77 goals in 92 games for Brazil. When friendlies and other matches are included, Pelé is credited with an incredible 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances and a place in the Guinness World Records. A true legend of the game who will be sorely missed.






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