Today Edison “Edson” Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé (picture ©*Savaman*), turns 70. Among the nicknames he was given there are for example “O Rei” (the king) and “Pérola Negra” (black pearl).
Grown up in poverty, Pelé started playing football during his childhood not with a proper ball but with a sock or a cloth stuffed with paper or with a grapefruit.
Discovered by ex player Waldemar de Brito, Pelé played his first match with Santos when he was still 15. He received a call for Brazilian national team for the 1958 World Cup where scored a total of 13 goals, at least one for each matches played, helping his team to win the title.
At the 1962 World Cup Pelé suffered from an injury in the second match and was forced to skipped the rest of the competition. At the 1966 World Cup he was beaten by opponent defenders, so much that he had to abandon the match with Portugal.
The bad experience had convinced Pelé to give up playing in the World Cup but he was convinced to change his mind and “O Rei” led Brazilian national team to another world title in 1970.
In 1972 Pelé decided to play only occasionally but in 1975 he signed for the New York Cosmos and played in the american championship until 1977, when he retired.
Those are just a few highlights in Pelé’s extraordinary career. He’s been a player with outstanding athleticism and technical skills as well, not very tall yet very good at scoring with his head and smart too. For all those reasons Pelé is still considered by a lot of people the best football player ever.
After the end of his football career Pelé has been in the spotlight with his social work within Brazilian government but also as a United Nations ambassador and even today he’s still a high profile person in the world of football.
In all the world Pelé keeps on being admired even by people who were born after he retired and had the chance to see his extraordinary football talents only in archive footage.