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Pele: The Life and Legacy of Football’s World icon

Pele on the cover of Haute Time Magazine

Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, was a legendary Brazilian professional footballer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and Football’s World icon. He was born on October 23, 1940 in Três Corações, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Pelé began playing professional football at the age of 15 for Santos Futebol Clube in Brazil, where he quickly became a star. He was a key member of the Brazilian national team that won the 1958 and 1962 FIFA World Cups, and he also helped lead Santos to numerous domestic and international titles.

Pele during the FIFA World Cup match between Brazil and Bulgaria in 1966. Brazil won 2-0. (Photo by Rolls Press/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Throughout his career, Pelé scored a total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games, a record that still stands today. He was known for his exceptional ball control, speed, and ability to score from anywhere on the field. Pelé was also a master at the “bicycle kick,” a move in which he would launch himself into the air and kick the ball with his feet while upside down.

Pelé was a global ambassador for football and was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1992. He was also inducted into the International Football Hall of Fame in 1998. After retiring from professional football in 1977, Pelé became involved in various business ventures and also worked as a football commentator and coach. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time and is often referred to as the “King of Football.”


Early years

Pele, was born on October 23, 1940, in Três Corações, Brazil. He was the youngest of three children born to Dondinho, a professional soccer player, and Celeste Arantes. Pele began playing soccer at a young age, and by the time he was a teenager, he had already gained a reputation as a talented player.

In 1956, at the age of 16, Pele signed his first professional contract with Santos FC, a Brazilian soccer club. He made his debut for the team later that year and quickly became a key player, helping Santos win numerous titles over the next several years.

Edson do Nascimento (Pelé) the Brazilian football star, born in 21 October 1940. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)

Pele’s talent and skill on the field earned him widespread recognition, and he became a fan favorite both in Brazil and abroad. In 1958, at the age of 17, he was called up to the Brazilian national team and played in his first World Cup. Despite being one of the youngest players on the team, Pele played a key role in Brazil’s victory, scoring two goals in the final match against Sweden.

Football Career

Pele began his professional career with Santos FC in Brazil at the age of 15, and he quickly became one of the most promising young players in the country. He played as a forward and is considered one of the greatest goalscorers of all time. He helped Santos win numerous titles and individual accolades, and he also played for the Brazilian national team, leading them to three World Cup titles (1958, 1962, and 1970). He played as a forward and is considered one of the greatest goalscorers of all time.

Pelé playing for Santos FC. (Photo by Ferdi Hartung/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Pele’s playing style was characterized by his speed, technical skills, and ability to score goals from a variety of positions. He was known for his powerful shots and his ability to score from long range, and he was also a gifted passer and playmaker. Pele was a complete footballer who could score goals, create chances for his teammates, and defend well.

Pele celebrates winning the 1970 World Cup in Mexico in the final match between Brazil and Italy at Estadio Azteca (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Pele’s career was not without controversy, however. He was often at odds with the Brazilian Football Confederation and the national team, and he faced criticism for his perceived over-commercialization and his involvement in politics. Despite these controversies, Pele’s impact on the game of football cannot be denied. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in history, and his contributions to the sport will always be remembered.

Personal life

Pelé had a tumultuous personal life, with several marriages and children. He was first married to Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi, with whom he had three children: Kelly Cristina, Edson, and Jennifer. The couple divorced in 1982. Pelé then married Assíria Lemos Seixas, with whom he had two children: Joshua and Celeste. The couple divorced in 1986.

In 1994, Pelé married his third wife, psychoanalyst Adriana Willis. The couple had one child together, named Gabriel. Pelé and Adriana divorced in 2008.

In 2016, Pelé married his fourth wife, Marcia Aoki. The couple remained married until Pelé’s death in 2022.

In addition to his children, Pelé also had several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Throughout his life, Pelé was known for his philanthropic work and was involved in several charitable causes, including the fight against poverty and the promotion of sport as a means of social development. He was also an ambassador for the United Nations and was actively involved in efforts to promote peace and understanding between nations.

He was a practicing Catholic.

Awards, Honours and Achievements

During his career, he received numerous awards and accolades, both at the club and international level.

Some of the awards and achievements Pelé attained include:

FIFA World Cup (1958, 1962, 1970)

FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (Best Player): 1970

FIFA World Cup Best Young Player: 1958

FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (1958, 1970)

France Football‘s Ballon d’Or (Reevaluated): 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1970 – Le nouveau palmarès (the new winners)

South American Footballer of the Year (1973)

Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame

International Olympic Committee President’s Prize (1994)

UNESCO Peace Award (1995)

Brazilian Order of the Southern Cross (1996)

Brazilian Order of Merit (1997)

Presidential Medal of Freedom (2013)

In addition to these awards, Pelé was also inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame and the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame. He was also named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Pele (number 10) during the World Cup semi-final in Stockholm in1958. Brazil beat France 5-2. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

During his career, he won numerous accolades and set several records, including:

Most goals scored in a single season: In 1959, Pele scored a record-breaking 125 goals in a single season while playing for Santos FC in Brazil.

Most goals scored in a career: Pele scored a total of 1,281 goals in his career, including official matches and friendly games. This is a record that has yet to be broken.

Pele is celebrated after scoring the 1,000th goal of his career against Vasco da Gama at the Maracana Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 19th November 1969. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Most World Cup victories: Pele won the World Cup with the Brazilian national team in 1958, 1962, and 1970, making him the only player in history to have won the tournament three times.

Youngest player to score in a World Cup: Pele scored his first World Cup goal at the age of 17 in 1958, making him the youngest player to score in a World Cup.

Pele’s impressive list of accomplishments and records cemented his place as one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

Pele in Popular Culture

He is known for his exceptional technical skills, speed, and goalscoring ability, and he is often credited with helping to popularize soccer (football) around the world. Pelé is a cultural icon in Brazil and beyond, and his impact on popular culture has been significant.

In popular culture, Pelé has been featured in numerous films, television shows, and video games. He has also been the subject of several biographies and documentaries, and his image has been used in advertising campaigns for a variety of products. In addition, Pelé has appeared in a number of commercials and has endorsed several brands over the years.

Pelé has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including three World Cup titles, five South American Footballer of the Year awards, and numerous other awards and honors. He has also been inducted into the International Football Hall of Fame and the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame.

He made appearances in several films and television shows. Here is a list of some of Pele’s filmography:

“Pele Forever” (2022) – documentary film about Pele’s life and career

“The King of Football” (2017) – biographical film about Pele’s life and career

“Pele” (2016) – biographical film about Pele’s life and career

“Pele: Birth of a Legend” (2016) – biographical film about Pele’s life and career

“Victory” (1981) – sports drama film in which Pele appears as himself

“Escape to Victory” (1981) – sports war film in which Pele appears as himself

“Alegria da Gente” (1972) – documentary film about Pele’s life and career

“Furacão do Maracanã” (1966) – documentary film about Pele’s life and career

In addition to these films, Pele also made guest appearances on several television shows and has narrated a number of documentary films about soccer.


Pelé passed away on December 29, 2022 at the age of 82. He died from multiple organ failure, a side effect of colon cancer at the Albert Einstein Hospital, where Pelé was receiving treatment. The hospital had reported earlier in the same month that his tumor had progressed and that he needed “more care relating to renal and cardiac dysfunctions.”


Pelé, is one of the most successful and iconic soccer players in history. He is the most successful player in football’s World Cup, having won three FIFA World Cups with the Brazilian national team. His achievements include scoring over 1,000 career goals.

Pelé’s legacy goes far beyond his impressive playing career. He is considered a national hero in Brazil and has been a global ambassador for soccer, using his fame to promote peace, education, and other causes. He has also been a successful businessman, with ventures in sports management, music, and film.

Pele holds a replica Wolrd Cup trophy during a press conference on March 26, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Pelé’s impact on soccer is undeniable. He popularized the sport in Brazil and around the world, and his skills and athleticism on the field inspired countless young players to take up the game. His legacy will continue to be felt for generations to come, as he remains one of the most revered figures in the world of sports.

Pele: Top 10 Impossible Goals Ever. Cc: Sports 360


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