Edison Arantes do Nascimento KBE (born 23 October 1940), best known by his nickname Pelé (Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation: [peˈlɛ], usual English pronunciation: /ˈpɛleɪ/) is a retired Brazilian football player. He is widely regarded by polls among football experts, former players and fans as the greatest footballer of all time.     In his career he scored 760 official goals, 541 in league championships, making him the top scorer of all time. In total he scored 1281 goals in 1363 games. 
In his native Brazil, Pelé is hailed as a national hero. He is known for his accomplishments and contributions to the game of football. He is also acknowledged for his vocal support of policies to improve the social conditions of the poor (when he scored his 1,000th goal he dedicated it to the poor children of Brazil). During his career, he became known as “The King of Football” (O Rei do Futebol), “The King Pelé” (O Rei Pelé) or simply “The King” (O Rei).
Spotted by football star Waldemar de Brito, Pelé began playing for Santos at 15 and his national team at 16, and won his firstWorld Cup at 17. Despite numerous offers from European clubs, the economic conditions and Brazilian football regulations at the time benefited Santos, thus enabling them to keep Pelé for almost two decades until 1974. With Pelé within their ranks, Santos reach their zenith by winning the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores, the most prestigious club competition in South American football. Pelé played as an inside second forward, also known as a playmaker. Pelé’s technique and natural athleticism have been universally praised and during his playing years he was renowned for his excellent dribbling and passing, his pace, powerful shot, exceptional heading ability, and prolific goalscoring.
He is the all-time leading scorer of the Brazil national football team and is the only footballer to be a part of three World Cup-winning squads. In 1962 he was on the Brazilian squad at the start of the World Cup but because of an injury suffered in the second match, he was not able to play the remainder of the tournament. In November 2007 FIFA announced that he would be awarded the 1962 medal retroactively, making him the only player in the world to have three World Cup winning medals.
Since his retirement in 1977, Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador for football and has undertaken various acting roles andcommercial ventures. He is currently the Honorary President of the New York Cosmos.
Pelé was born in Três Corações, Brazil, the son of a Fluminense footballer Dondinho (born João Ramos do Nascimento) and Maria Celeste Arantes. He was named after the American inventor Thomas Edison, however his parents decided to remove the ‘i’ and call him ‘Edson’, but there was a mistake on the birth certificate, leading many documents to show his name as ‘Edison’, not ‘Edson’, as he is actually called. He was originally nicknamed Dico by his family. He did not receive the nickname “Pelé” until his school days, when it is claimed he was given it because of his pronunciation of the name of his favorite player, local Vasco da Gama goalkeeper Bilé, which he misspoke but the more he complained the more it stuck. In his autobiography, Pelé stated he had no idea what the name means, nor did his old friends. Apart from the assertion that the name is derived from that of Bilé, and that it is Hebrew for miracle, the word has no known meaning in Portuguese.
Pelé grew up in poverty in Bauru, São Paulo. He earned extra money by working in tea shops as a servant. Taught to play by his coach, he could not afford a proper football and usually played with either a sock stuffed with newspaper, tied with a string or a grapefruit.
At the age of fifteen, he joined the Santos FC junior team. He played for one season before joining the senior team.
In 1956, de Brito took Pelé to Santos, an industrial and port city in the state of São Paulo, to try out for professional club Santos Futebol Clubetelling the directors at Santos that the 15-year-old would be “the greatest football player in the world.”
Pelé made his debut for Santos in 7 September 1956, scoring one goal in a 7–1 friendly victory over Corinthians. When the 1957 season started, Pelé was given a starting place in the first team and, at the age of just 16, became the top scorer in the league. Just ten months after signing professionally, the teenager was called up to the Brazil national team. After the World Cup in 1962, wealthy European clubs such as Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United tried to sign the young player, but the government of Brazil declared Pelé an “official national treasure” to prevent him from being transferred out of the country.
Pelé won his first major title with Santos in 1958 as the team won the Campeonato Paulista; Pelé would finish the tournament as top scorer with an incredible 58 goals , a record that stands today. A year later, O Rei would help the team earn their first victory in the Torneio Rio-São Paulo with a 3-0 over Vasco da Gama. However, Santos was unable to retain the Paulista title. In 1960, Pelé scored 33 goals to help his team regain the Campeonato Paulista trophy but lost out on the Rio-São Paulo tournament after finishing in a disappointing[says who?] 8th place. Another 47 goals from Pelé saw Santos retain the Campeonato Paulista. The club went on to win the Taça Brasil that same year, crushing Bahia in the finals; Pelé finished as top scorer of the tournament with 9 goals. The victory allowed Santos to participate in the Copa Libertadores, the most prestigious club tournament in the Western hemisphere.
Santos’ most successful club season started in 1962; the team was seeded in Group 1 alongside Cerro Porteño and Deportivo Municipal, winning every match of their group but one (a 1-1 away tie vs Cerro), with Pelé scoring his first goal in a brace against Cerro. Santos defeatedUniversidad Católica in the semifinals and met defending champions Peñarol in the finals in which Pelé scored another brace in the playoff match to secure the first title for a Brazilian club. Pelé finished as the second best scorer of the competition with 4 goals. That same year, Santos would defend, with success, the Campeonato Brasiliero (with 37 goals from Pelé), the Taça Brasil (Pelé scoring four goals in the final series against Botafogo), and win the 1962 Intercontinental Cup (Pelé scoring five goals in the series).
As the defending champions, Santos qualified automatically to the semifinal stage of the 1963 Copa Libertadores. The ballet blanco managed to retain the title in spectacular fashion after impressive victories over Botafogo and Boca Juniors. Pelé helped Santos overcome a Botafogo team that contained legends such as Garrincha and Jairzinho with an agonizing last-minute goal in the first leg of the semifinals and bring the match to 1-1. In the second leg, Pelé produced one of his best performances as a footballer with a hat-trick in the Estádio do Maracanã as Santos crushed Botafogo 0-4 in the second leg. Appearing in their second consecutive final, Santos started the series by winning 3-2 in the first leg and defeating the Boca Juniors of José Sanfilippo and Antonio Rattín 1-2 in La Bombonera, with another goal from Pelé, becoming the first (and so far only) Brazilian team to lift the Copa Libertadores in Argentine soil. Pelé finished the tournament as the topscorer runner-up with 5 goals. Santos lost the Campeonato Paulista after finishing in third place but went on to win the Rio-São Paulo tournament after an impressive 0-3 win over Flamengo in the final, with Pelé providing one goal in the match. Pelé would also help Santos retain the Intercontinental Cup and the Taça Brasil.
Santos tried to defend their title again in 1964 but they were thoroughly beaten in both legs of the semifinals by Independiente. Santos won again the Campeonato Paulista, with Pelé netting 34 goals. The club also shared the Rio-São Paulo title with Botafogo and win the Taça Brasil for the fourth consecutive year. The Santistas would try to resurge in 1965 by winning, for the 9th time, the Campeonato Paulista and the Taça Brasil. In the 1965 Copa Libertadores, Santos started convincingly by winning every match of their group in the first round. In the semifinals, Santos met Peñarol in a rematch of the 1962 final. After two legendary matches, a playoff was needed to break the tie. Unlike 1962, Peñarol came out on top and eliminated Santos 2-1. Pelé would, however, finish as the topscorer of the tournament with eight goals. This proved to be the start of a decline as Santos failed to retain the Torneio Rio-São Paulo, finishing in an embarrassing 9th place (second to last).
In 1966, Pelé and Santos also failed to retain the Taça Brasil as O Rei’s goals weren’t enough to prevent a 9-4 routing by Cruzeiro in the final series. Although Santos won the Campeonato Paulista in 1967, 1968 and 1969, Pelé became less and less a contributing factor to the Santistasnow-limited success. On 19 November 1969, Pelé scored his 1000th goal in all competitions. This was a highly anticipated moment in Brazil.The goal, called popularly O Milésimo (The Thousandth), occurred in a match against Vasco da Gama, when Pelé scored from a penalty kick, at the Maracanã Stadium.
Pelé states that his most beautiful goal was scored at Rua Javari stadium on a Campeonato Paulista match against São Paulo rival Juventus on 2 August 1959. As there is no video footage of this match, Pelé asked that a computer animation be made of this specific goal. In March 1961, Pelé scored the gol de placa (goal worthy of a plaque), a goal againstFluminense at the Maracanã which was regarded as so spectacular that a plaque was commissioned with a dedication to the most beautiful goal in the history of the Maracanã.
Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a star around the world. His team Santos toured internationally in order to take full advantage of his popularity. In 1967, the two factions involved in the Nigerian Civil War agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire so they could watch Pelé play an exhibition game in Lagos.
New York Cosmos
After the 1972 season (his 17th with Santos), Pelé retired from Brazilian club football although he continued to occasionally suit up for Santos in official competitive matches. Two years later, he came out of semi-retirement to sign with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (NASL) for the 1975 season. Though well past his prime at this point, Pelé is credited with significantly increasing public awareness and interest in soccer in the United States. He led the Cosmos to the 1977 NASL championship, in his third and final season with the club.
On 1 October 1977, Pelé closed out his legendary career in an exhibition match between the Cosmos and Santos. Santos arrived in New York and New Jersey after previously defeating the Seattle Sounders 2–0. The match was played in front of a capacity crowd at Giants Stadium and was televised in the United States on ABC’s Wide World of Sports as well as throughout the world. Pelé’s father and wife both attended the match. Pelé gave a brief pre-match speech during which he asked the crowd to say the word “love” with him three times. He played the first half for the Cosmos and the second half for Santos. Reynaldo scored the first goal for Santos, kicking the ball into the net after it had deflected off the crossbar. Pelé then scored his final goal on a direct free kick, driving the ball past the diving Santos goalkeeper. At halftime, the Cosmos retired Pelé’s number 10. Pelé presented his Cosmos shirt to his father, who was escorted to the field by Cosmos captain Werner Roth. During the second half, Cosmos striker Ramon Mifflin, who had replaced Pelé when he switched sides at halftime, scored on a deflected cross, and the Cosmos won the match 2–1. After the match, Pelé was embraced by the Cosmos players, including longtime rival Giorgio Chinaglia, and then ran around the field while holding an American flag in his left hand and a Brazilian flag in his right hand. Pelé was soon lifted by several Cosmos players and carried around the field.
National team career
Pelé’s first international match was a 2–1 defeat against Argentina on 7 July 1957. In that match, he scored his first goal for Brazil aged 16 years and 9 months to become the youngest player to score in International football.
1958 World Cup
His first match in the World Cup was against the USSR in the first round of the 1958 FIFA World Cup. He was the youngest player of that tournament, and at the time the youngest ever to play in the World Cup. He scored his first World Cup goal against Wales in quarterfinals, the only goal of the match, to help Brazil advance to semifinals, while becoming the youngest ever World Cup goalscorer at 17 years and 239 days. Against France in the semifinal, Brazil was leading 2–1 at halftime, and then Pelé scored a hat-trick, becoming the youngest in World Cup history to do so.
On 19 June 1958 Pelé became the youngest player to play in a World Cup final match at 17 years and 249 days. He scored two goals in the final as Brazil beat Sweden 5–2. His first goal, a lob over a defender followed by a precise volley shot, was selected as one of the best goals in the history of the World Cup. When the match ended, he passed out on the field, and had to be attended by the medical staff. He then recovered, and was visibly compelled by the victory; in tears as he was being congratulated by his teammates. He finished the tournament with six goals in four matches played, tied for second place, behind record-breaker Just Fontaine.
1962 World Cup
In the first match of the 1962 World Cup, against Mexico, Pelé assisted the first goal and then scored the second one, after a run past four defenders, to go up 2–0. He injured himself while attempting a long-range shot against Czechoslovakia. This would keep him out of the rest of the tournament, and forced coach Aymoré Moreira to make his only lineup change of the tournament. The substitute was Amarildo, who performed well for the rest of the tournament. However, it was Garrincha who would take the leading role and carry Brazil to their second World Cup title.
1966 World Cup
The 1966 World Cup was marked, among other things, for the brutal fouling on Pelé, by the Bulgarian and Portuguese defenders. Brazil was eliminated in the first round, playing only three matches. Pelé scored the first goal from a free kick against Bulgaria, but due to his injury, a result of persistent fouling by the Bulgarians, he was left out for the second game against Hungary. Brazil lost that game and Pelé, although still recovering, was brought back for the last crucial match against Portugal. In that game João Morais brutally fouled Pelé, but was allowed to stay on field by referee George McCabe. Pelé had to stay in the field limping for the rest of the game, since substitutes were not allowed at that time. After this game he vowed he would not play again in the World Cup, a decision he would later change.
1970 World Cup
Pelé was called to the national team in early 1969, he refused at first, but then accepted and played in six World Cup qualifying matches, scoring six goals. The 1970 World Cup in Mexico was to be Pelé’s last. Brazil’s squad for the tournament featured major changes in relation to the 1966 squad. Players like Garrincha, Nilton Santos, Valdir Pereira, Djalma Santos, and Gilmar had already retired, but the team, with Pelé,Rivelino, Jairzinho, Gérson, Carlos Alberto Torres, Tostão, and Clodoaldo, is widely considered as one of the greatest ever football teams.
In the first match, against Czechoslovakia, Pelé gave Brazil a 2–1 lead, by controlling Gerson’s long pass with his chest and then scoring. In this match Pelé audaciously attempted to lob goalkeeper Ivo Viktor from the half-way line, only narrowly missing the Czechoslovak goal. Brazil went on to win the match, 4–1. In the first half of the match against England, he nearly scored with a header that was spectacularly saved by Gordon Banks. In the second half, he assisted Jairzinho for the only goal of the match. Against Romania, he opened the score on a direct free kick goal, a strong strike with the outside of his right foot. Later on in the match he scored again to take the score to 3–1. Brazil won by a final score of 3–2. In the quarterfinals against Peru, Brazil won 4–2, with Pelé assisting Tostão on for Brazil’s third goal. In the semi-finals, Brazil faced Uruguay for the first time since the 1950 World Cup final round match. Jairzinho put Brazil ahead 2–1, and Pelé assisted Rivelino for the 3–1. During that match, Pelé made one of his most famous plays. Tostão gave Pelé a through ball, and Uruguay’s goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz took notice of it. The keeper ran off of his line to get the ball before Pelé, but Pelé got there first, and without touching the ball, he caused it to go past the keeper, to the latter’s left, while Pelé went right. Pelé went around the goalkeeper and took a shot while turning towards the goal, but he turned in excess as he shot, and the ball drifted just wide of the far post.
Brazil played Italy in the final, with Pelé scoring the opener, with a header over Italian defender Tarcisio Burgnich. He then made assists on Jairzinho’s and Carlos Alberto‘s goals, the latter one coming after an impressive collective play. Brazil won the match 4–1, keeping the Jules Rimet Trophy indefinitely. Burgnich, who marked Pelé during the match, was quoted saying “I told myself before the game, he’s made of skin and bones just like everyone else — but I was wrong”.
Pelé’s last international match was on 18 July 1971 against Yugoslavia in Rio de Janeiro. With Pelé on the field, the Brazilian team’s record was 67 wins, 14 draws, and 11 losses, and they won three World Cups. Brazil never lost a match while fielding both Pelé and Garrincha. The only international match Garrincha lost was against Hungary in 1966, 1–3, which Pelé did not play in because of injury.
South American Championship
On 21 February 1966, Pelé married Rosemeri dos Reis Cholby. He has two daughters Kelly Cristina (13 January 1967) and Jennifer (1978) as well as a son Edson (“Edinho” – little Edson, 27 August 1970). The couple divorced in 1978.
Since April 1994 Pelé has been married to psychologist and gospel singer Assíria Lemos Seixas, who gave birth on 28 September 1996 to twins Joshua and Celeste through fertility treatments.
- Copa Libertadores: 1962, 1963
- Campeonato Paulista: 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1973
- Torneio Rio-São Paulo: 1959, 1963, 1964, 1966
- Intercontinental Cup: 1962, 1963
- Recopa Intercontinental: 1968
Friendly Club tournaments
- Teresa Herrera Trophy: 1959
- Tournament of Valencia: 1959
- Dr. Mario Echandi Trophy: 1959
- Pentagonal Tournament of Mexico: 1959
- Gialorosso Trophy: 1960 
- Tournament of Paris: 1960, 1961 
- Tournament of Italy: 1961
- Tournament of Costa Rica: 1961
- Tournament of Caracas: 1965
- Quadrangular Tournament of Buenos Aires: 1965
- Hexagonal Tournament of Chile: 1965, 1970
- Tournament of New York: 1966
- Amazonia Tournament: 1968
- Quadrangular Tournament of Rome/Florence: 1968
- Pentagonal Tournament of Buenos Aires: 1968
- Octagonal Tournament of Chile (Taça Nicolau Moran): 1968
- Tournament of Cuiabá: 1969
- Tournament of Kingstone: 1971 
The tally of 32 official team trophies makes him the player with most career titles.
- BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality:
- Winner (1): 1970
- FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (Best Player)
- Winner (1): 1970
- Athlete of the Century, elected by world wide journalists, poll by French daily L’Equipe: 1981
- South American Footballer of the Year: 1973 
- Athlete of the Century, by Reuters News Agency: 1999
- Athlete of the Century, elected by International Olympic Committee: 1999
- UNICEF Football Player of the Century: 1999
- FIFA Player of the Century : 2000 (view : http://www.fifa.com/classicfootball/players/player=63869/bio.html )
- Football Player of the Century, elected by France Football’s Golden Ball Winners : 1999 
- Football Player of the Century, by IFFHS International Federation of Football History and Statistics: 1999
- South America Football Player of the Century, by IFFHS International Federation of Football History and Statistics: 1999
- Laureus World Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement Award from South African President Nelson Mandela: 2000
In December 2000, Pelé and Maradona shared the prize of FIFA Player of the Century by FIFA. The award was originally intended to be based upon votes in a web poll, but after it became apparent that it favoured Diego Maradona, many observers complained that the Internet nature of the poll would have meant a skewed demographic of younger fans who would have seen Maradona play, but not Pelé. FIFA then appointed a “Family of Football” committee of FIFA members to decide the winner of the award. The committee chose Pelé. Since Maradona was winning the Internet poll, however, it was decided he and Pelé should share the award.
- BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award:
- Winner (1): 2005
A consensus of media and expert polls rank Pelé as the greatest footballer of all time.
Goalscoring and appearance record
Pelé’s goalscoring record is often reported as being 1280 goals in 1363 games. This figure includes goals scored by Pelé in non-competitive club matches, for example, international tours Pelé completed with Santos and the New York Cosmos, and a few games Pelé played in for armed forces teams during his national service in Brazil.
The tables below record every goal Pelé scored in major club competitions for Santos and the New York Cosmos. During much of Pelé’s playing career in Brazil there was no national league championship. From 1960 onwards the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) were required to provide meritocratic entrants for the then-new Copa Libertadores, a South American international club competition broadly equivalent to the European Cup. To enable them to do this, the CBF organised two national competitions: the Taça de Prata and Taça Brasil. A national league championship, the Campeonato Brasileiro, was first played in 1971, alongside traditional state and interstate competitions such as the Campeonato Paulista and theTorneio Rio-São Paulo.
The number of league goals scored by Pelé is listed as 589 in 605 games. This number is the sum of the goals scored by Pelé in domestic league-based competitions: the Campeonato Paulista (SPS), Torneio Rio-São Paulo (RSPS), Taça de Prata and Campeonato Brasileiro. The Taça Brasil was a national competition organised on a knockout basis.
|Club||Season||Domestic League Competitions||Domestic League
|Domestic Cup||International Club Competitions||Official
|SPS||RSPS||T. de Prata||Camp. Brasil.||T. Brasil||Copa Libertadores||Intercontinental Cup|
- A dark grey cell in the table indicates that the relevant competition did not take place that year.
- * indicates this number was inferred from a Santos fixture list from rsssf.com and this list of games Pelé played.
|Brazil national team|
World Cup goals
Prime Licensing, the company created and owned by the long time friend and fashion businessman Jose Alves de Araujo, now manages the Pele brand including contracts with Puma AG, Pelestation, QVC, Fremantle Media, Pele L’uomo and Pele Arena coffee houses, amongst others.
The most notable area of Pelé’s life since football is his ambassadorial work for various bodies. In 1992, Pelé was appointed a United Nationsambassador for ecology and the environment.
He was awarded Brazil’s Gold Medal for outstanding services to the sport in 1995, Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso appointed him to the position of “Extraordinary Minister for Sport” and he was appointed a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. During this time he proposed legislation to reduce corruption in Brazilian football, which became known as the Pelé law. Pelé left his position in 2001 after he was accused of involvement in a corruption scandal, although nothing has been proved so far. In 1997 he was created an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Pelé has published several autobiographies, starred in documentary and semi-documentary films and composed various musical pieces, including the entire soundtrack for the film Pelé in 1977. He appeared, alongside other footballers of the 1960s and 1970s, with Michael Caine, and Sylvester Stallone, in the 1981 film Escape to Victory, about an attempted escape from a World War II German POW Camp.
Pelé signed a major autobiographical book deal in 2006, resulting in a giant-sized, 45 cm × 35 cm, 2,500 unit limited-edition collectible “Pelé”, created by UK luxury publishers, Gloria, as the first-ever football “big book”. In the same period, Pelé received a lifetime achievement award from the BBC and in June 2006, helped inaugurate the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, alongside supermodel Claudia Schiffer. Pelé has also helped to promote viagra and raise the awareness of impotency.
Pelé was guest of honour at the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield‘s 150th anniversary match v Inter Milan in November 2007. Inter won 5–2 in front of an appreciative crowd of nearly 19,000 at Bramall Lane. As part of his visit, Pelé opened an exhibition which included the first public showing in 40 years of the original hand written rules of football.
On August 1, 2010, Pelé was introduced as the Honorary President of a revived New York Cosmos, operating a youth academy and New York City adult tournament, with the goal of fielding a team in Major League Soccer.
Acting and film career
- Os Estranhos (1969) (TV series)
- O Barão Otelo no Barato dos Bilhões (1971)
- A Marcha (1973)
- Os Trombadinhas (1978)
- Escape to Victory (1981)
- A Minor Miracle (1983)
- Pedro Mico (1985)
- Os Trapalhões e o Rei do Futebol (1986)
- Hotshot (1987)
- Solidão, Uma Linda História de Amor (1990)
- Mike Bassett: England Manager (2001)
- ESPN SportsCentury (2004)
- Pelé Eterno (2004) – a documentary about Pelé’s career