Edson Arantes do Nascimento
Edson, as known as Pele was a great player as a forward and even more than that. Such a one, he got the World Player of the Century award. He also holds the Guinness World Record with more than 1200 goals.
Pele was born in Três Corações on October 23, 1940 as the former footballer Dondinho’s son.
When he was 13 he played at Bauru and the club won two Sao Paulo youth championships with his guidance.
He then played at Radium, a futsal club. Indoor football just helped him gain self-confidence because it was harder than football on the grass.
18 Years at Santos FC
At the age of 15, he started playing for Santos, a senior team. Pele signed the contract in June 1956, after he impressed the coach on the trials. Three months later he played in his 1st game for Santos against Corinthians. In that 7-1 triumph, he also scored the 1st goal of his senior career.
Pele became the top scorer of the league scoring 58 goals after Santos won Paulistao 1958. It was a record that he still holds.
Pele helped his team win Torneio Rio-São Paulo 1959 after they beat Vasco de Gama by 3-0. However, Santos couldn’t keep the Paulista.
Taça Brasil 1960
The next year Paulistao 1960 victory came, as Pele scored 47 goals. It was being a successful year; Pele became the top scorer again. With 9 goals he scored, Pele led his team to Taça Brasil 1960 victory. Santos had the right to join Copa Libertadores 1962 since they won Taça Brasil. But they lost Torneio Rio-Sao Paulo since they ended up in the 8th place.
After winning in all the games during Copa Libertadores 1962, Santos reached the finals and beat Penarol by 3-0. Santos won the title with Pele being the 2nd top scorer after scoring 4 goals.
37 Goals, Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A
Santos went on winning the tournaments in 1962. With Pele scoring 37 goals, they won Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A. Afterwards, the Taça Brasil victory came as Pele scored 4 goals. Also the Intercontinental Cup 1962 victory was a great success. Pele scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win, wearing the number 10 jersey.
The following year; Pele contributed the Copa Libertadores 1963 victory with 5 goals. Santos kept shining; they won Rio-Sao Paulo tournament as Pele scored a goal against Flamengo in the 3-0 win.
Pele’s team also had the Intercontinental Cup 1963 and the Taça Brasil 1963 victories. But they couldn’t win Paulista since they finished in 3rd place.
Although Santos lost Copa Libertadores 1964; the Campeonato Paulista 1964 victory came as Pele scored 34 goals. Santos also managed to win Taça Brasil 1964 and Torneio Rio-Sao Paulo 1964 tournaments.
Penarol defeated Santos with a 2-1 score in the Copa Libertadores 1965 finals. However, Pele managed to become the top scorer again, after he scored 8 goals. Unfortunately, Pele’s team also lost Torneio Rio-Sao Paulo in 1965.
The next year Santos unfortunately lost their Taça Brasil to Cruzeiro in a 9-4 defeat. But they went on winning Paulista 1967, 1968, 1969.
The year 1969 was special for Pele and his fans. He scored his 1000th goal on November 19. The fans named that goal “O Milésimo”, which means “The 1000th”.
New York Cosmos
Pele transferred to New York Cosmos in 1975, after he played in 638 matches for Santos. He only played for 3 seasons at Cosmos but he provided US people an interest for sport.
Pele played in his 1st match for Cosmos on June 15, 1975 against Dallas Tornado. He scored in the 2-2 draw.
In the same year, their friendly match for Nejmeh had 40.000 spectators, one week before the Lebanese Civil War.
Almost a year later from his debut, Pele played in a match against Violette AC. He made his team win by 2-1, while more than 25.000 spectators were watching him.
After the victory, Cosmos joined and won the 1977 NASL Championship with Pele’s guidance.
Pele played in his last match on October 1, 1977. It was a match between Santos and Cosmos that he played for both teams half and half.
Pele started playing for the Brazil national team at the age of 16. He made his debut, also scored his 1st goal for Brazil in the 2-1 defeat against Argentina.
World Cup 1958
He could start playing during World Cup 1958 in the 3rd game due to injury. However, Pele quickly became the main star of the tournament. Especially the hat-trick he scored against France in the semi-finals made him the youngest player to do it.
During the finals, he impressed even the opponents when he scored two goals against Sweden. That goal then got voted one of the best goals.
Pele started wearing the number 10 jersey, after scoring 6 goals in 4 games during the tournament.
A year later, he participated in 1959 South American Championship. Pele led his team to 2nd place being the top scorer and the best player of the competition.
World Cup 1962
He got selected for the next tournament; World Cup 1962.
Pele got injured after Mexico game (2-0) in which he scored the 2nd goal. But his replacements played well and helped Brazil’s victory at the end.
Most popular Player
Since Pele was the most popular player, he joined World Cup 1966. During the tournament, opponent players kept fouling and injuring him. Unfortunately, Brazil got knocked out of the competition after playing in 3 games.
It was the tournament in which Pele swore he would never play in a World Cup again. The reason was that the referee didn’t let him stop and he had to continue playing while he was injured.
World Cup 1970
Four years later, Pele had to change his decision and star in World Cup 1970.
During the qualification he scored 6 goals in 6 games. Brazil squad had the legends like Torres, Jairzinho, Rivellino at that time.
Their 1st match was against Czechoslovakia which Brazil won by 4-1.
He led his team to the quarter finals scoring 2 goals against Romania in the 3-2 win.
Brazil faced Peru in quarter finals and winning the match by 4-2 as Pele provided an assist. Afterwards, they played with Uruguay in the semi-finals winning the match by 3-1. That match was one of his most popular performances, as he made an assist and a perfect feint.
Brazil got the Jules Rimet Trophy, beating Italy with a 4-1 victory after Pele scored the opening goal. July 18, 1971 was the date of Pele’s last international game where he played against Yugoslavia.