Pelé, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, died at 82. The Brazilian forward, awarded Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee in 1999, won the FIFA World Cup three times and set a joint national record with 77 goals in 92 matches. His full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, and he made his debut for Brazil at 16 in 1957, winning his first World Cup in Sweden the following year.
Football world mourns Famous Brazil Soccer legend Pelé
In 1962, he helped his country defend their championship in Chile before captaining an all-time great Brazil side to a hat-trick of victories in Mexico in 1970, still regarded as Pelé’s best achievement. Statistics, however, do not respect Pelé’s singular brilliance, which set the bar for great international footballers worldwide.
From his brilliant first goal against Sweden in the 1958 World Cup final to the thunderous header that set Brazil on their path to a 4-1 triumph over Italy in 1970 last, no player had ever exhibited such a unique blend of speed, touch, vision, and deadly finishing.
Pelé played almost his entire club career with Santos (1956-1974), amassing 643 goals in 659 games before retiring in 1977 after two years with the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League. AsPelé won two Copa Libertadores wins with Santos (along with six Brazilian championships), opening the way for two European/South American Cup victories, the latter of which included a hat-trick against Benfica at the Estádio da Luz in 1962.
Pelé chose to play almost his entire career in Brazil. Thus opportunities for European football fans to see his skills firsthand were limited: his first World Cup triumph in Sweden, Brazil’s unsuccessful defence in England in 1966, and a series of friendly games for Santos in the early 1970s.