Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé , is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who played as a forward. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time
Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on 23 October 1940, in Três Corações, Minas Gerais, Brazil, the son of Fluminense footballer Dondinho (born João Ramos do Nascimento) and Celeste Arantes. He was the elder of two siblings.He was named after the American inventor Thomas Edison.His parents decided to remove the “i” and call him “Edson”
Pelé grew up in poverty in Bauru in the state of São Paulo. He earned extra money by working in tea shops as a servant. Taught to play by his father, he could not afford a proper football and usually played with either a sock stuffed with newspaper and tied with a string or a grapefruit.He played for several amateur teams in his youth, including Sete de Setembro, Canto do Rio, São Paulinho, and Amériquinha.Pelé led Bauru Athletic Club juniors (coached by Waldemar de Brito) to two São Paulostate youth championships.In his mid-teens, he played for an indoor football team called Radium. Indoor football had just become popular in Bauru when Pelé began playing it. He was part of the first Futebol de Salão (indoor football) competition in the region. Pelé and his team won the first championship and several others.
Pelé accredits indoor football for helping him think better on the spot. In addition, indoor football allowed him to play with adults when he was about 14 years old. In one of the tournaments he participated, he was initially considered too young to play, but eventually went on to end up top scorer with fourteen or fifteen goals. “That gave me a lot of confidence”, Pelé said, “I knew then not to be afraid of whatever might come”.
Soccer’s National Treasure
Pelé signed with Santos and immediately started practicing with the team’s regulars. He scored the first professional goal of his career before he turned 16, led the league in goals in his first full season and was recruited to play for the Brazilian national team.
The world was officially introduced to Pelé in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Displaying remarkable speed, athleticism and field vision, the 17-year-old erupted to score three goals in a 5-2 semifinal win over France, then netted two more in the finals, a 5-2 win over the host country.
The young superstar received hefty offers to play for European clubs, and Brazilian President Jânio Quadros eventually had Pelé declared a national treasure, making it legally difficult for him to play in another country. Regardless, Santos club ownership ensured its star attraction was well paid by scheduling lucrative exhibition matches with teams around the world.
More World Cup Titles
Pelé aggravated a groin injury two games into the 1962 World Cup in Chile, sitting out the final rounds while Brazil went on to claim its second straight title. Four years later, in England, a series of brutal attacks by opposing defenders again forced him to the sidelines with leg injuries, and Brazil was bounced from the World Cup after one round.
Despite the disappointment on the world stage, the legend of Pelé continued to grow. In the late 1960s, the two factions in the Nigerian Civil War reportedly agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire so they could watch Pelé play in an exhibition game in Lagos.
The 1970 World Cup in Mexico marked a triumphant return to glory for Pelé and Brazil. Headlining a formidable squad, Pelé scored four goals in the tournament, including one in the final to give Brazil a 4-1 victory over Italy.
Retirement: Pelé announced his retirement from soccer in 1974, but he was lured back to the field the following year to play for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, and temporarily helped make the NASL a big attraction. He played his final game in an exhibition between New York and Santos in October 1977, competing for both sides, and retired with a total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games.
The Legend Lives On
Retirement did little to diminish the public profile of Pelé, who remained a popular pitchman and active in many professional arenas.
In 1978, Pelé was awarded the International Peace Award for his work with UNICEF. He has also served as Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister for Sport and a United Nations ambassador for ecology and the environment.
Pelé was named FIFA’s “Co-Player of the Century” in 1999, along with Argentine Diego Maradona. To many, his accomplishments on the soccer field will never be equaled, and virtually all great athletes in the sport are measured against the Brazilian who once made the world stop to watch his transcendent play.
His marital life: Pelé has married three times, and has had several affairs, producing several children.On 21 February 1966, Pelé married Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi. They had two daughters and one son: Kelly Cristina (born 13 January 1967), who married Dr. Arthur DeLuca, Jennifer (b. 1978), and their son Edson (“Edinho”, b. 27 August 1970). The couple divorced in 1982. In May 2014, Edinho was jailed for 33 years for laundering money from drug trafficking.On appeal the sentence was reduced to 12 years and 10 months.
From 1981 to 1986, Pelé was romantically linked with TV presenter Xuxa, which was influential in launching her career. She was 17 when they started dating.In April 1994, Pelé married psychologist and singer Assíria Lemos Seixas, who gave birth on 28 September 1996 to twins Joshua and Celeste through fertility treatments. The couple divorced in 2008.
Pelé had at least two more children from former affairs. Sandra Machado, who was born from an affair Pelé had in 1964 with a housemaid, Anizia Machado, fought for years to be acknowledged by Pelé, who refused to submit to DNA tests. Although she was recognized by courts as his biological daughter based on DNA evidence in 1993, Pelé never acknowledged his eldest daughter even after her death in 2006, nor her two children, Octavio and Gabriel. Pelé also had another daughter, Flávia Kurtz, in an extramarital affair in 1968 with journalist Lenita Kurtz. Flávia was recognized by him as his daughter.
At the age of 73, Pelé announced his intention to marry 41-year-old Marcia Aoki, a Japanese-Brazilian importer of medical equipment from Penápolis, São Paulo, whom he had been dating from 2010. They first met in the mid-1980s in New York, before meeting again in 2008.They married in July 2016
Pelé’s goalscoring record is often reported by FIFA as being 1281 goals in 1363 games.This figure includes goals scored by Pelé in friendly club matches, like international tours Pelé completed with Santos and the New York Cosmos, and a few games Pelé played in for the Brazilian armed forces teams during his national service in Brazil.He was listed in the Guinness World Records for most career goals scored in football
Pelé is the top scorer of the Brazil national football team with 77 goals in 92 official appearances. In addition, he scored 18 times in 22 unofficial games. This makes an unofficial total of 114 games and 95 goals. He also scored 12 goals and is credited with 10 assists in 14 World Cup appearances, including 4 goals and 7 assists in 1970.Pelé shares with Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose and Cristiano Ronaldothe achievement of being the only players to have scored in four separate World Cup tournaments.