Edson Arantes do Nascimento “Pelé”

Pelé is a world-famous football/soccer player from Brazil. Many would say he is the best soccer player of all time. Born in 1940 and playing professionally from the 1950s-1970s, he was part of the Brazilian national team that won three FIFA world cups. Noticeable career soccer accomplishmentsincluded playing in 1,363 soccer matches and scoring 1,284 goals. He finished his career with the United States New York Cosmos playing for one year. He holds a world record for 92 games with scoring 3 or more goals.

Pelé had many popular nicknames during his career such as “Dico” when he was a kid given by his family, “O Rei” (The King), “Perola Negra” (The Black Pearl), and The King Pelé. Pelé got the name he is most known by through accidental mispronunciation of a local soccer player he liked named Bilé. The famous nickname Pelé has been with him since childhood.

Some noteworthy challenging soccer moves that Pelé mastered included the bicycle kick and precision soccer ball juggling. He mastered these moves and kids and adults worldwide have attempted to perform these techniques with as much skill as him.

In addition to his notable soccer career he has been involved with worldwide social causes. Pelé served as a United Nation’s Ambassador for the environment, won the international peace award in 1978, and served as Brazil’s Minister for Sports in the 1990s. He also was a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

As a kid I played soccer for 4 years primarily as a wing (offense) and fullback (defense). 4 years were played for club/recreational teams and 1 year for JV in high school. Like so many kids I looked up to the world-famous Pelé and admired his technical soccer skills and vision for winning. My love for soccer has continued with my family and my son has played recreational soccer for 4 years also. His favorite position in soccer is midfield which plays both offense and defense. He has scored goals in practice games but continues to practice to-try to score his first goal in an official match. I plan to show my son videos of Pelé and give him background on his rise to being a world famous soccer star.

Early Years: The Shaping of a Prodigy

Born on October 23, 1940, in the heartlands of Minas Gerais, Brazil, young Edson discovered his love for football amidst the less-than-opulent routes of Bauru, São Paulo. A beacon of talent that seemed divinely inspired, he honed his skills with a deflated sock or a grapefruit on the streets, barefoot but brimming with raw potential.

The Roots of Talent

Pele’s father, Dondinho, a minor-league soccer player, gifted his son with the genes of the game and his mother, Celeste, the grace of a compassionate heart. Their love and support were the bedrock of Pelé’s fortitude in his formative years.

The Grit of Early Beginnings

His deft touch with the ball didn’t go unnoticed. By 15, Pelé had already signed with Santos FC, marking the beginning of a synergy with the club that would yield multiple trophies and a global fan base.

The Meteoric Rise: From Santos to the World

Pelé’s rise to fame was more than a climb; it was an ascent akin to a comet streaking across the night sky. He broke out as a professional footballer with Santos, and soon, the world followed in awe and admiration.

Scoring Goals, Making History

1962 saw him becoming the youngest player to score a goal in a World Cup final, an achievement that only foreshadowed the records he was yet to shatter.

Glory in Gold

Pele’s name became synonymous with victories for Brazil’s national team, leading them to World Cup triumphs in 1958, 1962, and 1970. His performances were more than stellar; they were the very essence of samba-styled domination.

The Man Beyond the Field

Philanthropy and Activism

Beyond the roar of stadiums, Pelé emerged as a goodwill ambassador, using his influence to promote initiatives for global development and social change. His commitment to philanthropy and activism has been as unyielding as his on-field heroics.

Legacy Beyond Football

His post-retirement career saw him as a global ambassador for the sport and a beacon for peaceful coexistence. His efforts, including involvement with various sports committees and organizations, painted a picture of a man devoted to the cause of universal brotherhood through the language of football.

The Person Behind the Legend

Early Days and Education

Before he became ‘Pelé’, Edson Arantes do Nascimento was a boy who attended school with a talent that outshone his grades. His prowess with the ball was evident, and his passion for the game outstripped his academic inclinations.

Anecdotes and Insights

Peppered with anecdotes from childhood friends and notes from teachers, this section offers a glimpse into the formative days of the legend. We find the playful camaraderie and the competitive spirit that would define his approach to life and the sport in equal measure.

Nickname and Identity

Contrary to popular belief, ‘Pelé’ was not a self-bestowed moniker. Here, we explore the origins of a name that would come to symbolize excellence in the world of football and, by extension, the Brazilian identity.

The Man Called ‘Pelé’

Embedded in a mispronunciation, Pelé’s name captured the essence of his indigenous and African heritage. The singularity of the name mirrored the distinctiveness of his career, which was unmatched and iconic.

The Prize of Immortality

Awards and Accolades

In the annals of footballing history, Pelé’s shelf of awards and accolades gleams with the brilliance of his achievements. Golden Boots, Ballon d’Or, and FIFA Player of the Century are mere markers of the tireless dedication and unmatched skill he brought to the game.

Records and Feats

Unfurling the banners of his records – including his 1,000th career goal, an unassailable tally of World Cup titles, and professional titles with Santos – we scrutinize the numbers that secured his place among the footballing immortals.

Personal Life and Family

The Pyramidal Foundation of Family

Weaving the tale of Pelé’s personal life, we observe the intricate balance between family and fame. His roles as a father, husband, and friend are as much a part of his legacy as his contributions to football.

Loves and Losses

Peering into the personal struggles, including his fraught relationships and the losses he endured, we see the contours of a man who was as vulnerable as he was victorious.

Pelé’s Philosophy and Leadership

Influence on Modern Football

Pelé’s ethos of inclusivity, joy in the game, and leadership by example have resonated with modern players and coaches. We dissect the traits that have made him not just a great player but also a beacon of inspiration.

The Effect on Brazilian Football Culture

The Brazilian approach to ‘jogo bonito’ or the beautiful game was instilled with Pelé’s craft. His influence on the players who followed and the culture of football in Brazil is a continuing saga that shapes the country’s sporting ethos even today.

Conclusion: A Legacy That Transcends Generations

In conclusion, Pelé’s legacy is not just the story of a successful footballer but a tale that has transcended the game, inspiring countless individuals to dream, to strive, and to achieve. The chapters of his life continue to echo in the stadiums where the game is played and in the hearts where it is loved.


Editors of Britannica “Pelé.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. (February 6, 2020). https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pele-Brazilian-athlete

Unknown “Pelé.” IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0671446/

CNN Editorial Research “Pelé Fast Facts.”CNN. (November 13, 2019). https://www.cnn.com/2015/06/10/world/pele-fast-facts/index.html