19 Jul


First name that comes up when it is about football is Pele. Pele, whose original name is Edison Arantes do Nascimento, simply the best footballer in the world. In Brazil, Pele had another as well, Perola Negra, which means black pearl. He scored staggering 1283 goals during his long career, while playing for Santos, New York Cosmos as well as Brazilian National Team. Pele had exhilarating pace, balance, tremendous ball control, innovative vision, and ability to shoot powerfully as well as precisely with both the feet .He scored unbelievable 139 goals during 1958 season. He got the International peace award in 1978. International Olympics committee named Pele as athlete of the century, in 1980.

Pele was born to the Celeste and Joao Ramos do Nascimento couple on 23rd October in 1940 at Tres Coracoes, Brazil. Pele’s journey towards the heights of footballing success started at Bauru Athletic club as a teenager. During his free time, he used to shine shoes for making some money. Waldermar de Brito was the man who discovered the wonder kid Pele. He brought Pele to Santos club in Sao Paulo. He told the directors of the Santos, “This boy will be the greatest soccer player in the world,” shocking them at once. Pele showed the glimpses of his talent, when he scored on his debut match against Corinthians F.C at the age of 16.Santos became world famous because of the legend Pele. Pele won nine Sao Paulo state championships and a world club championship with Santos. In the year 1969, he scored the 1000th goal of his career.

In 1957, Pele made debut for Brazil at an age of 17.World came across the genius Pele, at 1958 world cup held in Sweden. His world cup match was against the Soviet Union. He played an important role in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Soviet Union. He scored six goals in the tournament hampered by injury. He won the quarterfinal against Wales 1-0, by scoring the solitary goal of the match. His hat trick powered Brazil into final after defeating France in semi-final. He scored two goals against the host Sweden to give Brazil its first world cup. Brazil won the match 5-2.

In 1962, world cup held in Chile, Brazil were firm favourites, with Pele by then considered as world’s best footballer, in their team. Pele scored a magical goal against Mexico after beating four players in a 2-0 win. However, Pele missed rest of the tournament after the second match due to muscle injury. Brazil retained their title after defeating Czechoslovakia with a 3-1 margin. Pele and Brazil had a forgettable world cup in 1966 as they were knocked out in the first round itself. Pele scored only one goal in that world cup. After that shocking exit, he decided not to appear in another world cup.

However, 29-year-old Pele participated in 1970 world cup, with the best Brazilian team ever. Pele scored a goal in 4-1 demolition of Czechoslovakia. Pele set up Jairzinho to score against the defending champions England, to win 1-0.Earlier English Keeper Gordon Banks, pulled off an absolute miraculous save to deny Pele a goal. The commentators wondered whether it was the save of the century! Pele scored two goals against Romania as Brazil beat them 3-2.Brazil entered the final of the world cup after defeating Peru and Uruguay in knockout matches. Pele scored a goal and set up two other goals to win the third world cup for Brazil, after beating Italy 4-1. Brazil became the first team to win the world cup thrice and they got the right to maintain the Jules Rimet Trophy forever. After the world cup, he bid adieu to International football.

Pele played until 1974 for Santos before retiring. In respect to the legend Pele, Santos retired their No: 10 JERSEY. However, he came out from retirement and played for New York Cosmos in NASL for around 4.5 million dollars. He ended his football career as player in 1977 to become a sporting ambassador. He was a sports minister in Brazil for some years. He is still an international figure, well acclaimed for his exploits in world cups. Pele acted in many documentaries based on him and wrote many autobiographies. He was a music composer too. He composed sound tracks in the movie “Pele”.

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