Learn about the briliant soccer career of Pele.
It is perhaps best that the greatest footballer the world has ever seen was given the name of Pele. His real name, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, would have been many a competent football commentator’s nightmare!
Pele was born into a football family. His father had played as a professional in the Brazilian league, and was considered to be a good header of the ball. Unfortunately his career was cut short by injury. This did not discourage his son though, who played for a variety of amateur sides until he was noticed one day by a former Brazilian international footballer. This man, De Brito, took Pele, aged fifteen, to Santos football club, and declared to the clubs hierarchy that the youngster would become the world’s greatest footballer. His prediction was given some credibility in Pele’s first league game for the club, when he scored four goals. Pele enjoyed massive success for his club throughout his career, and archrivals Corinthians were denied success against Santos for an incredible ten years, when Pele was in the Santos side.
Although the success of Pele at club level is worth mentioning, it was his performances as a Brazilian international, especially in World Cups, that defined him as the greatest ever footballer. He made his debut for the national team in 1957, aged sixteen. His lack of years did not seem to bother him though, and inevitably he scored. The next year he played in his first World Cup, and showed the world his repertoire of amazing skills. He scored twice in the final, and Brazil was crowned champions, the first of three winners’ medals for Pele. The second of these medals will have been mildly disappointing for the great man, because in the 1962 finals he was injured at a relatively early stage. The 1970 finals were his swansong though, and his creative vision and goals from midfield were a joy to behold. He also made England goalkeeper Gordon Banks famous by forcing him into a tremendous, almost impossible save from one of his headers. Pele also got one of the goals in the final.
In the 1970’s Pele played for the New York Cosmos and is held responsible for popularizing the game in this part of the world. Pele also stopped a civil war for two days in Nigeria, when the warring factions were all desperate to go and watch him play. It is these sorts of events that helped elevate the man to God-like status.