Pelé is known as the “Rei” or King of soccer and is one of the most famous and most celebrated athletes in Brazil. His full name is Edison Arentes do Nascimento and he was born on October 23, 1940 in Três Corações (three hearts) which is in the state of Minas Gerais. He grew up in a very poor neighborhood and couldn’t even afford to buy a soccer ball so he used a sock stuffed with newspaper. His father Dondinho was a local professional soccer player and is recognized for scoring five goals with his head in one game. Dondinho coached his son Pelé as a young boy. Pelé published a book in 1977 called, “Bringing Back the Beautiful Game” which christened soccer as “the beautiful game.” In his autobiography he recalled his love and admiration for his father and described him as very supportive to him growing up.
Pelé was named after the American inventor Thomas Edison. His parents decided to remove the “i” from Edison and called him Edson which is a popular Brazilian name but there was a mistake on his birth certificate which spelled it Edison. In Brazil nicknames are very popular and Pelé was known by his nickname Dico as a young boy. Then the name Dico turned into another nickname, Pelé. The story behind this is that Pelé had a favorite soccer player named Bilé who was the goalkeeper for the Vasco team. Pelé always mispronounced his name and called him Pelé. His friends then starting calling him Pelé and the name remained.
At age sixteen Pelé began playing soccer for a minor league team. In 1958 when he was seventeen he played in the World Cup and scored 2 goals in the championship game. In 1970 Pelé scored his 100th World Cup goal with his head. Pelé ranks number one in the amount of goals that he made during his career which are 1,280 out of 1,360 games. Pelé also played two seasons for the New York Cosmos. 1977 was his final game with the Cosmos and he played an exhibition match between the Cosmos and his former Brazilian team Santos. He accomplished this by playing the first half with the New York team and the second half with the Brazilian team (see picture below). Pelé composed the entire soundtrack for the film “Pelé.” He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1999 the International Olympic Committee elected Pelé as the Athlete of the Century.
Recently the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff asked Pelé to serve as the honorary ambassador for the 2014 World Cup. There is no person who could fulfill this role better than the legendary Pelé. The sports minister Orlando Silva agrees that Pelé is the best pick for this important role and shared this comment “He’s a man who knows a lot about the world of football!”
Pelé eagerly awaits the World Cup 2014 in Brazil! Here is a recent interview with Pelé the infamous King of Soccer where he declared he was born to play football!
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Brought to you by: World Cup Brazil 2014