Brazilian footballer (born 1940)

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, more commonly known as just Pelé, was born 23 October 1940 in Três Corações, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Pelé has also been known for connecting the phrase "The Beautiful Game" with football. A prolific goalscorer, he was known for his ability to anticipate opponents in the area and finish off chances with an accurate and powerful shot with either foot. Pelé was also a hard-working team player, and a complete forward, with exceptional vision and intelligence, who was recognised for his precise passing and ability to link up with teammates and provide them with assists. Regarded as one of the greatest strikers in the world.

Pele by John Mathew Smith.jpg
Pelé in 1995
Edson Arantes do Nascimento

(1940-10-23) 23 October 1940 (age 82)
Três Corações, Minas Gerais, Brazil
  • Footballer
  • humanitarian
Height1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
  • Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi
    (m. 1966; div. 1982)
  • Assíria Lemos Seixas
    (m. 1994; div. 2008)
  • Marcia Aoki (m. 2016)
Partner(s)Xuxa Meneghel (1981–1986)
Children7, including Edinho

Association football career
Position(s) Forward, attacking midfielder
Youth career
1953–1956 Bauru
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1956–1974 Santos 636 (618)
1975–1977 New York Cosmos 64 (37)
Total 700 (655)
National team
1957–1971 Brazil 92 (77)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only
Minister of Sports
In office
1 January 1995 – 30 April 1998
PresidentFernando Henrique Cardoso
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byRafael Greca (1999)

In his early career, he played in a variety of attacking positions. Although he usually operated inside the penalty area as a main striker or centre forward, his wide range of skills also allowed him to play in a more withdrawn role, as an inside forward or second striker, or out wide. In his later career, he took on more of a deeper playmaking role behind the strikers, often functioning as an attacking midfielder. Pelé's unique playing style combined speed, creativity, and technical skill with physical power, stamina, and athleticism. His excellent technique, balance, flair, agility, and dribbling skills enabled him to beat opponents with the ball, and frequently saw him use sudden changes of direction and elaborate feints in order to get past players, such as his trademark move, the drible da vaca. Another one of his signature moves was the paradinha, or little stop.

Despite his relatively small stature, 1.73 metres (5 ft 8 in), he excelled in the air, due to his heading accuracy, timing, and elevation. Renowned for his bending shots, he was also an accurate free-kick taker, and penalty taker, although he often refrained from taking penalties, stating that he believed it to be a cowardly way to score.

Pelé was also known to be a fair and highly influential player, who stood out for his charismatic leadership and sportsmanship on the pitch. His warm embrace of Bobby Moore following the Brazil vs England game at the 1970 World Cup is viewed as the embodiment of sportsmanship, with The New York Times stating the image "captured the respect that two great players had for each other. As they exchanged jerseys, touches and looks, the sportsmanship between them is all in the image. No gloating, no fist-pumping from Pelé. No despair, no defeatism from Bobby Moore. Pelé also earned a reputation for often being a decisive player for his teams, due to his tendency to score crucial goals in important matches.


He is a former Brazilian football player. Pelé is the most successful league goal scorer in the world, with 678 league goals. In total Pelé scored 1283 goals in 1363 games, including unofficial friendlies and tour games, for which he was listed in the Guinness World Records for most career goals scored in the history of football. In his career, Pelé won many major trophies, including the World Cup three times with the Brazilian national team. Thanks in part to these three world titles, his enormous talent, mastery of all parts of the game and mentality, Pelé is considered by many to be one of the best football players of all time. Pelé has scored 1301 goals in his entire career, and it took 1390 games to do so. After his career, he dedicated himself to charitable causes and became an important figure at FIFA.

He was given the title "Football Player of the Century" by FIFA. Many believe that he is the best player in the history of football.

Pelé began playing for Santos at age 15 and the Brazil national team at 16. During his international career, he won three FIFA World Cups: 1958, 1962 and 1970, the only player to do so. Pelé is the all-time leading goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. At club level he is Santos' all-time top goalscorer with 643 goals from 659 games. In a golden era for Santos, he led the club to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores, and to the 1962 and 1963 Intercontinental Cup. Credited with connecting the phrase "The Beautiful Game" with football, Pelé's "electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals" made him a star around the world, and his teams toured internationally in order to take full advantage of his popularity. During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world. Since retiring in 1977, Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador for football and has made many acting and commercial ventures. In 2010, he was named the Honorary President of the New York Cosmos.

Averaging almost a goal per game throughout his career, Pelé was adept at striking the ball with either foot in addition to anticipating his opponents' movements on the field. While predominantly a striker, he could also drop deep and take on a playmaking role, providing assists with his vision and passing ability, and he would also use his dribbling skills to go past opponents. In Brazil, he is hailed as a national hero for his accomplishments in football and for his outspoken support of policies that improve the social conditions of the poor. His emergence at the 1958 FIFA World Cup where he became the first black global sporting star was a source of inspiration. Throughout his career and in his retirement, Pelé received several individual and team awards for his performance in the field, his record-breaking achievements, and legacy in the sport.

Early lifeEdit

Born in Três Corações , Minas Gerais , on October 23, 1940, in Brazil, Pelé was an exceptionally talented footballer. He learned to play football on the 'street'; though the name street is inappropriate, as it was just a patch of bare earth with a bit of grass here and there. Pelé always played barefoot, partly due to his great technique. That 'field' was in Bauru, a town where Pelé's father Dondinho, also a professional footballer, played for the local club. The name Pelé (lit. 'ragball') is a nickname he got from the boys he used to play football with when he was little, even though he didn't understand why. His parents (Dondinho and Celeste) mainly called him 'Dico'. He was also later given several nicknames from fans and journalists, such as Perla Negra (The Black Pearl), o Rei do Futebol (The Football King) or simply O Rei (The King; he got this nickname from the stage in 1957, when he was 17 years old). — and sportswriter Nelson Rodrigues).

Pelé once said that in 1950 he was listening to a radio report of the World Cup final with his father. After the final, which Brazil lost to Uruguay, Pelé's father cried, and although Pelé didn't quite understand what was going on, he said, 'Don't worry. One day I will win it.' He kept that promise. He would even win the World Cup three times.

When Pelé played in the youth team of Bauru Atlético Clube since 1952 , he was trained by former international Waldemar de Brito. The city of Bauru is located 350 kilometers from São Paulo and about 750 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro. The clubs Corinthians, Palmeiras, São Paulo and Santos followed Pelé at the age of fifteen. Bauru AC, where Pelé still played, played in the provincial league in which these four teams also played. Santos FC, the former club of Pelés coach De Brito, eventually pulled the longest straw. The Brito most likely played a role in this choice.

In Pelé's birthplace, (Três Corações), there is a statue of him, and in Bauru, the city where he grew up, a street is named after him.

Club careerEdit

Pelé played most of his career in Brazil for Santos FC, where he was active between 1956 and 1974. Together with Coutinho, he formed a very productive attacking duo. He made his debut at the age of fifteen and was able to score in his first game. In 1958 he won his first prize with Santos when they won the Campeonato Paulista. He scored 58 goals that season, a record that still stands today. A year later they won the Torneio Rio-São Paulo. In 1960, the club again won the state championship, but lost completely in the Torneio Rio-São Paulo 1960, where they finished only eighth. In 1961 the club became national champions for the first time, after winning the final in the Taça Brasil of Bahia . In 1962 and 1963 he won the Copa Libertadores with Santos against Peñarol and Boca Juniors respectively, and in the same years also the Intercontinental Cup against Eusébio's Benfica Lisbon and AC Milan. He even scored a hat-trick against Benfica. Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester Unitedtried to bring in Pelé, but the government of Brazil considered Pelé a national treasure and prevented the player from transferring. In 1964 the club was stopped in the semi-finals by Independiente. The club became national champion for the fourth time in a row that year. Also the following year, the semi-final was the final station in the Copa Libertadores. Peñarol eliminated the club after three games, but Pelé became the top scorer of the tournament with 8 goals. In the 1966 Taça Brasil final, the club scored nine goals over two matches against Tostão's Cruzeiro. Santos still won the Campeonato Paulista in 1967, 1968 and 1969, but Pelé contributed less and less and at the national level Palmeiras becamethe dominant club. On November 19, 1969, he scored his 1,000th goal of his career in a match against Vasco da Gama at the Maracanã. In 1967, in the Nigerian city of Lagos, he played an exhibition match with players such as Zito, Pepe and Coutinho, for which a 48-hour truce was even declared in the Biafra War.

In 1974 he stopped playing football and played occasionally for Santos. However, in 1975 he made a comeback when he went abroad to play for New York Cosmos, where more famous players played at the time. In 1975 Feyenoord Rotterdam also tried to tempt Pelé to come and play with them.

Pelé mastered all aspects of the game to perfection: his handling of the ball was impeccable, he had an excellent header, great technical adeptness, a great starting point (both feet and chest) and was a brilliant playmaker. In his heyday, he could also run the hundred meters in 11 seconds and reach the 1 meter 80 with the high jump.

International careerEdit

Pelé played at four world championships: those of 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970. Pelé won 1958, 1962 and 1970, although he was a small part of the 1962 win due to injury. Of the 92 international matches, Pelé won 67 times with Brazil, drew 14 times and lost 11 games.

1958 FIFA World CupEdit

When Pelé was only 17, he arrived in Sweden with the rest of the Brazilian squad for the 1958 World Cup. Due to a knee injury, Pelé did not play the first game (3-0 win against Austria) and also the second game (0-0 against England). The coach, Vicente Feola, made three substitutions before the third group match against the Soviet Union. Garrincha, Zito and Pelé were placed in the starting line-up. Pelé shot the post once, but didn't score. Brazil won 2-0 anyway. Pelé scored in the quarterfinals against Wales. He scored the decisive goal in the 74th minute and became the youngest goalscorer in a World Cup at 17 years and 239 days. That record still stands today.

The first half against France in the semi-final went fairly well. Brazil led 2-1. During the second half, Pelé scored a hat-trick: in the 53rd, 64th and 75th minute he managed to find the net. The French scored once more and Brazil advanced 5-2 to the final, where they faced Sweden. The Swedes were outplayed. Vavá scored twice on Garrincha 's pass and Pelé hit the crossbar once after Nils Liedholm had scored for Sweden. Pelé scored in the 54th minute, then Mario Zagallo. scored, then Agne Simonsson for Sweden and finally Pelé made it 5-2. Brazil was world champion, the world had met an extraordinary talent who scored 6 times in 4 matches. With that number he did not become a top scorer, because Just Fontaine of France scored more often.

Back in his homeland, he got a car, a Romisetta, and a street was named after him in Bauru.

1959 South American ChampionshipEdit

Pelé also played in the South American Championship. In the 1959 competition he was named best player of the tournament and was top scorer with 8 goals, as Brazil came second despite being unbeaten in the tournament. He scored in five of Brazil's six games, including two goals against Chile and a hat-trick against Paraguay.

1962 FIFA World CupEdit

However, the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile turned out to be a major disappointment. Pele was now 21 years old. He had a groin injury so he could still play. In the first game, Pelé provided an assist and scored a beautiful goal himself after clearing the entire Mexican defense. In the next game, three days later against Czechoslovakia, he hit the post. As he tried to catch the returning ball and stretch his leg, he felt something snap, and it was impossible to continue. Pelé was unable to play at that tournament and Garrincha became the big star and top scorer of the tournament, and Brazil won its second world title, although it was a lot less enjoyable for Pelé.

1966 FIFA World CupEdit

The World Cup in 1966 went slightly better for the then 25-year-old Pelé. Pelé scored in the first group match against Bulgaria along with Garrincha in the second half, that was the only match when Garrincha and Pelé scored together. In the second group match (against Hungary), Pelé didn't play, after being hit by the Bulgarian defenders. Brazil lost that second game 3-1 to a very well playing Hungary. The third match was against Eusébio's Portugal. After defender João Maorais hit Pelé with a flying tackle at knee height, Pelé lay groaning on the field. When he tried to stand up, the defender kicked him again, after which Pelé was carried off the field and Brazil was defeated 3-1. The Brazilians were eliminated and this tournament was also a big disappointment for Pelé. He only scored once in one full game and one very short one. Pele said bitterly that he would never want to play in a World Cup again.

Four years later, with a 29-year-old Pelé in the ranks, Brazil played at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Mario Zagallo , Pelé's co-player in 1958, was the coach. Carlos Alberto TorresRivellinoGérsonJairzinhoClodoaldo and Tostão also played in the team. According to Pelé, this team was better as a collective, while the 1958 team (with players like DidiMario ZagalloNílton Santos and Djalma Santos) was better individually. The first group match was against Czechoslovakia, and won 4-1 (with a goal by Pelé). Brazil then won 1–0 against England. Pelé did not score, but was very close; Gordon Banks made a save on Pelé's header, while Pelé was already shouting 'goal'. Pele did provide the assist for the only goal, made by Jairzinho. After this match, defender Bobby Moore and Pelé became good friends. When Moore died in 1993, Pelé spoke at his funeral.

The third group match was won 3-0 against Romania, Pelé scored twice. The quarterfinals were won against Peru 4-2, Pelé did not score. The semi-final against Uruguay was won 3-1 and Pelé was involved in the last two goals.

Brazil faced Italy in the final. Pelé scored with a header the 1-0 (the hundredth Brazilian World Cup goal), Gérson scored after a nice action and a nice shot the 2-1 ( Boninsegna scored the equalizer). At the third goal, Pelé headed back a ball from Gérson, which was shot into the goal by Jairzinho. The 4-1 became a well-known goal. Clodoaldo outplayed four Italians, passed the ball to Jairzinho, who passed the ball to Pelé after a short play. Pelé accepted, and stood still for a few seconds with the ball dead at his feet. Then, at just the right moment, he gave a little tap to the right and Carlos Alberto, suddenly rushing in, was able to shoot in the 4-1. Brazil became world champion for the 3rd time and Brazil team is considered to be one of the best teams in history.


From 1956 to 1974 he played for Santos, had 605 appearances, and scored 589 goals.[2] From 1975 to 1977 he played for New York Cosmos, when he had 64 appearances, and scored 37 goals.[2] Then from 1978 to 1980 he played for XI Classic till he retired.

Club career statisticsEdit


Club statistics League
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals
1971 Santos Série A 21 1
1972 16 5
1973 30 19
1974 17 9

Template:Football player club stati 2

1975 New York Cosmos NASL 9 5
1976 22 13
1977 25 13
Country Brazil 84 34
United States 56 31
Total 140 65

International career statisticsEdit

Pelé cries on the shoulder of Gilmar dos Santos Neves, after Brazil won the 1958 Cup.
Pelé (crouched, second from right to left) and Brazil national team at 1959 Copa America


Brazil national team
1957 2 2
1958 7 9
1959 9 11
1960 6 4
1961 0 0
1962 8 8
1963 7 7
1964 3 2
1965 8 9
1966 9 5
1967 0 0
1968 7 4
1969 9 7
1970 15 8
1971 2 1
Total 92 77


In September 2021, Pelé had surgery to remove a tumour on the right side of his colon.[5] He began chemotherapy treatment a few weeks later.[6]


Pelé at the White House on 10 September 1986, with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Brazil President José Sarney.
Pelé with U.S. President Bill Clinton in Rio de Janeiro, 15 October 1997.






In December 2000, Pelé and Diego 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 together with the votes of the readers of the FIFA magazine. The committee chose Pelé. Since Maradona was winning the Internet poll, however, it was decided he and Pelé should share the award.


  1. Anibal Massaini Neto (Director/Producer), (2004). Pelé Eterno [Documentary film]. Brazil: Anima Producoes Audiovisuais Ltda. International: Universal Studios Home Video.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Prolific Scorers Data". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  3. Strack-Zimmermann, Benjamin. "Pelé".
  4. "Edson Arantes do Nascimento "Pelé" - Goals in International Matches".
  5. "Pelé: Brazil legend remains in intensive care as he recovers from surgery to remove tumour". Sky Sports. 11 September 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  6. "Brazil: Pele released from hospital to begin chemotherapy". DW. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  7. The 1973 Paulista was held jointly with Portuguesa.
  8. The 1964 Torneio Rio-São Paulo was held jointly with Botafogo.