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45 Facts About Pele - The Brazilian Football Legend

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Pele is a retired Brazilian professional footballer, widely considered as the greatest football player of all time, who is the most successful league goal scorer in the world. Here are 45 facts about the football legend:

Former Brazilian footballer Pele holds a team jersy of Atletico-de-Kolkata the city based franchise of ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) football during a press conference Kolkata on October 12, 2015. Pele is on a three-day visit to the city.
(Photo : DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images) Former Brazilian footballer Pele holds a team jersy of Atletico-de-Kolkata the city based franchise of ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) football during a press conference Kolkata on October 12, 2015. Pele is on a three-day visit to the city.
  1. Pele is credited with making football synonymous to the phrase “the beautiful game.”
  2. Pele was born on October 23, 1940 in Tres Coraco, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He was christened Edson Arantes do Nascimento, after American inventor, Thomas Edison.
  3. He had many nickname such as ‘Dico,’ ‘Gasolina’ apart from more famous ‘Pele.’ The name Pele can be traced to local ‘Vasco da Gama’ goalkeeper Bile in his youth. Bile changed to Pile to Pele in his school days.
  4. Pele was the elder of two siblings to Dondinho and Celeste Arantes. His father was footballer with Fluminense, who taught Pele the rudiments of football in the back yard.
  5. Pele out of poverty use to play football with sock stuffed with newspaper and tied with string. Pele led the ‘Bauru Athletic Club Juniors’ to three championship in the Sao Paulo state youth competition between 1954 and 56.
    Brazilian football star Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento) who may play for Paris-St-Germain.
    (Photo : Central Press/Getty Images) Brazilian football star Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento) who may play for Paris-St-Germain.
  6. Pele gained by playing indoor football in his teens with adults. Playing for the team ‘Radium’ in the futebol de salao championship, Pele gained confidence and started to think on his feet as it is lot quicker.
  7. On June 1956, Pele signed his first professional contract with Santos F.C, Sao Paulo. He was introduced to the Santos club by his coach Waldemar de Brito, who predicted that Pele would be “the greatest football player in the world.”
  8. Pele made highly impressive debut for Santos against Corinthians Santo Andre on September 07, 1956. He opened his account for Santos, at 15 years of age.
  9. Within a year Pele was given a place in the starting eleven for his club and ended the 1957 season as the highest scorer in the league. Santos was the runnur-up.
  10. Pele was the top scorer of the Campeonato Paulista league which Santos won. He scored 58 goals, which is a record till date.
    Football, Brazilian legend Pele, one of the stars of the victorious Brazil team of the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico
    (Photo : Popperfoto/Getty Images) Football, Brazilian legend Pele, one of the stars of the victorious Brazil team of the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico
  11. Pele was selected to national team at 16 years of age and represented Brazil in the 1958 world cup match against Soviet Union on June 15, 1958. He was nursing a knee injury and was unavailable for the first two matches.
  12. Pele scored his first world cup goal against Wales in the quarter-finals. He became the youngest goal scorer at 17 years 239 day.
  13. When Pele scored hat-trick of goals in the semi-finals against France, he became the youngest to do so in the world cup. Brazil won 5-2, to advance to the finals.
  14. Brazil won the 1958 World Cup and Pele became the youngest player to play the finals and youngest to score in the finals. Pele was awarded the best young player of the tournament and Silver ball as second best player of the tournament.
  15. Pele was adjusted as the best player in the 1959 South American Championship. He was the top scorer with eight goals. Brazil took the second spot behind Argentina.
    Pele holds a replica Wolrd Cup trophy during a press conference at The Peninsula on March 26, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.
    (Photo : Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) Pele holds a replica Wolrd Cup trophy during a press conference at The Peninsula on March 26, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.
  16. In 1959 Pele helped his club Santos to win their first victory in the Tornio Rio-Sao Paulo.
  17. In 1961 Pele helped his club to win the Taca Brazil, the Brazilian national championship. He was the tournament top scorer with nine goals. Santos qualified to participate in the Copa Libertadores Tournament.
  18. Pele led Santos to the final of Copa Libertadores tornament in 1962. After one match all, Santos beat Penarol 3-0 in the playoff. The win was the first win for Brazil club and Pele scored twice in the final.
  19. Pele is the ambassador of the Copa Libertadores . Pele was voted as the ‘Football Player of the Century’ by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS).
  20. In the 1962 World Cup at Chile much was expected from Pele. He showed his class in the first match against Mexico before injuring himself in the next match, to be out of the tournaments. He scored a goal and assisted another in Mexico match.

  21. After the 1962 World cup, Pele was approached by many European clubs. The Government of Brazil declared him ‘Official National Treasure’ preventing him from being transferred out of country.
  22. In 1962 Pele was the star for Santos in the ‘1962 Intercontinental Cup.’ Santos beat Benfica to claim the cup. Pele scored five goals in the two leg matches.
  23. In 1963, Pele helped Santos to lift the ‘1963 Copa Libertadores Cup’ by defeating Boca Juniors of Argentina 5-3 in aggregate in two leg match. Santos is the only Brazilian club to win a tournament in Argentine soil.
  24. 1963 was a successful year for Pele and Santos. Pele helped it win the Rio-Sao Paulo Tournament, Copa Libertadores, Taca Brazil and the Inter Continental Cup. In the final of Continental Cup, Pele scored two goals in the first leg against A.C Milan. Santos won the playoff.
  25. In the 1966 world cup in England, Pele was injured due to brutal fouling by the Portugal defender Joao Morais. Sheer out of frustration, he vowed not to play world cup again.
    1958 World Cup Final, Stockholm, Sweden, 29th June, 1958, Sweden 2 v Brazil 5, Brazil's Pele shoots as he is challenged by a Swedish defender
    (Photo : Popperfoto/Getty Images) 1958 World Cup Final, Stockholm, Sweden, 29th June, 1958, Sweden 2 v Brazil 5, Brazil's Pele shoots as he is challenged by a Swedish defender
  26. On February 21, 1966 Pele married Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi. They have two daughters Kelly Cristina, Jennifer and a son Edson. They couple divorced in 1982.
  27. Pele scored his 1000th goal in all competition in a match against Vasco da Gama at Maracana stadium on November 19, 1969.
  28. According to Pele, his memorable goal was scored in a match against Juvantus on August 02, 1959. He celebrated his goal by jumping in the air with raised fist for the first time.
  29. On March 05, 1961, Pele scored a goal for Santos against Fluminense at the Maracana in the Rio-Sao Paulo championship. The goal was described as the most beautiful goal in the history of the Maracana. A memorable plaque was commissioned for the goal.
  30. In 1967 a war between two factions in Nigeria was stopped for 48 hours to watch a exhibition match involving Pele.
    Football, Brazilian legend Pele, one of the stars of the victorious Brazil team of the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico, kisses the Jules Rimet trophy circa 1970.
    (Photo : Popperfoto/Getty Images) Football, Brazilian legend Pele, one of the stars of the victorious Brazil team of the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico, kisses the Jules Rimet trophy circa 1970.
  31. Pele initially refused to be part of national team for the 1970 World Cup qualifying matches. Later he participated in six matches and scored six goals.
  32. Brazil won the 1970 World Cup for Jules Rimet Trophy and Pele was awarded the ‘Golden Ball’ as an outstanding player of the tournament.
  33. On July 18, 1971 Pele played his last international match, against Yugoslavia in the Rio de Janeiro stadium. The match ended in a draw with 2 goals all.
  34. Pele retired from Brazilian club football after the 1974 seasons. He represented Santos for 19 years and did play occasionally in the competitive matches.
  35. Pele returned from semi-retirement in 1975, to sign-up with New York Cosmos of North American Soccer League. He led Cosmos to its league title in 1977.

  36. On October 01, 1977, Pele played his last match of his career in the exhibition match between Santos and Cosmos club. Pele scored his final goal of free kick for Cosmos victory. It was attended by Muhammad Ali and Bobby Moore besides his family.
  37. Pele played for Brazil in 92 matches scoring 77 goals. He was part of three world cup triumphs. He has scored more than 1000 goals in a career spanning 21 years.
  38. The late president Nelson Mandela had this to say about Pele, “To watch him play was to watch the delight of a child combined with the extraordinary grace of a man in full.” He awarded life time achievement award to Pele.
  39. In April 1994, Pele married for the second time psychologist and gospel singer Assiria Lemos Seixas. They have twins, Joshua and Celeste. He divorced her in 2008.
  40. Pele was married for the third time to business women Marcia Aoki, 32 years his junior. She took care of him, during his treatment for his urinary tract infection in 2014.
  41. Pele was sued by Sandra Machado claiming to be his daughter out of an affair with his housemaid Anizia Machado in 1963. She was allowed to adopt his surname by the court.
    Pele answers questions during a press conference on June 1, 2015 in Havana, Cuba.The New York Cosmos will play Cuba in a friendly match on June 2,2015.
    (Photo : Elsa/New York Cosmos/Getty Images) Pele answers questions during a press conference on June 1, 2015 in Havana, Cuba.The New York Cosmos will play Cuba in a friendly match on June 2,2015.
  42. In December, 2000 Pele along with Maradona shared the prize of ‘FIFA Player of the Century.’ The prize was awarded based on vote by FIFA officials, Journalist and coaches and by fans on the FIFA official web site.
  43. Pele was awarded the ‘BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year’ in 1970. This award is presented to non-British, who has made substantial contribution to sports that year. It is decided by 30 sporting journalist.
  44. In 2005 Pele was awarded the ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award.’ The award symbolizes with the sports person who has made major impact on the world sport during their life time.
  45. On June 10, 1998, Pele was chosen in the ‘World Team of the 20th Century’ in conjunction with the opening ceremony of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in Paris. The players are chosen by panel of 250 football journalists.

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