Edson Arantes do Nascimento (name given as Edison on birth certificate, born 21 October 1940 (however, Pelé himself claims that he was born on 23 October), known by his nickname Pelé (Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation: [peˈlɛ]), is a retired Brazilian footballer. He is widely regarded as the best football player of all time.
Pelé was barely 17 ½ when he marched onto the field in 1958 for his first World Cup match.He learned one thing that day in Goteborg, Sweden: the World Cup
Pelé was injured and sat out the first two matches. Before the third match, his teammates urged the coach to start the kid from Santos, who wore No. 10, the traditional number of the playmaker. He dazzled his opponents, and Brazil won its first World Cup.
"People in Soweto were delighted to see him. One of them said 'He was our Jesus because he brought us hope'. Pele says Sir Stanley Matthews taught us how to play the game properly."
The [Pele] records are repeated again and again - more than 1,200 goals scored in professional football, 90-odd hat-tricks, three World-Cup winner medals.
He was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, and often talks of Pele in the third person. It's as if they are two different people, and Edson is Pele's representative on earth. There are few people who have such an effect on others - Princess Di, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela. To be touched by Pele is to be blessed.
Pelé started his football career in Santos in 1956, at the age of 15, and played in his first international match only ten months later. Ever loyal to his local club, he stayed with Santos for his entire career. In 1958, Pelé became the youngest ever World Cup winner in Sweden at 17.
Pele added, "[Soccer] changes, and records are there to be beaten, but it'll be very hard to beat mine. People ask me all the time, 'When is the new Pele going to be born?' Never. My father and mother have closed the factory."
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, into a very poor family in Tres Coracoes, in the state of Minas Gerais, he was later nicknamed Pele, the meaning of which has never been explained. His father was a promising soccer player but had to retire early due to injury, and ended up sweeping floors for a living.
France's respected daily sports newspaper L'Equipe, which chose Brazilian soccer star Pele, as its "Sportsman of the Century."
Brazil legend Pele has praised Barcelona star Lionel Messi, but noted that the 24-year-old still has a long way to catch the football legend.
Pele. A name short in length, but long in significance. There are many stories that explain where the name came from, but none can explain the phenomenon.
"If you would use the word perfect, Pele almost is there. He was the greatest soccer player in the history of this game," says former West German star Franz Beckenbauer. Other than Muhammad Ali, no other athlete could rival the magnitude of his popularity.