Day 96 - Pele
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, (name given as Edison on birth certificate, born 21 October 1940 – however, Pelé himself claims that he was born on 23 October), is a retired Brazilian footballer. He is regarded by many experts, football critics, former players, current players and football fans in general as the best player of all time.
In 1999, he was voted Football Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). In the same year French weekly magazine France Football consulted their former Ballon D'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century. Pelé came in first place. Pelé was elected "Athlete of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee and Reuters News Agency in 1999, and by French newspaper L'Équipe in 1981. During his playing days Pelé was for a period the best paid athlete in the world. According to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) he is the most successful league goal scorer in the world, with 541 league goals. In total Pelé scored 1281 goals in 1363 games. In his native Brazil, Pelé is hailed as a national hero. He is known for his accomplishments and contributions to the game of football. He is also acknowledged for his vocal support of policies to improve the social conditions of the poor (when he scored his 1,000th goal he dedicated it to the poor children of Brazil). During his career, he became known as "The Black Pearl" (Pérola Negra), "The King of Football" (O Rei do Futebol), "The King Pelé" (O Rei Pelé) or simply "The King" (O Rei).
He was trained since birth to become great by his father, mentor and former footballer (who was the top scorer in every season he played for, for every team) Dondinho. Later spotted, at Bauru Atlético Clube, by football star Waldemar de Brito, Pelé began playing for Santos at 15 and his national team at 16, and won his first World Cup at 17. Despite numerous offers from European clubs, he could not leave Brazil because of a law keeping him there. In 1961 President Jânio Quadros had Pelé declared a national treasure, thus enabling Santos to keep Pelé for almost two decades until 1974. With Pelé within their ranks, Santos reached their zenith by winning the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores, the most prestigious club competition in South American football. In 1962 Santos became the first football club ever to win four out of four competitions in a single year, thus achieving the quadruple. Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a star around the world. His team Santos toured internationally in order to take full advantage of his popularity. Pelé played most of his career as a deep-lying forward. Pelé's technique and natural athleticism have been universally praised and during his playing years he was renowned for his excellent dribbling and passing, his pace, powerful shot, exceptional heading ability, and prolific goalscoring.
He is the all-time leading scorer of the Brazil national football team and is the only footballer to be a part of three World Cup-winning squads. In 1962, his second World Cup victory, he was on the Brazilian squad at the start of the World Cup but because of an injury suffered in the second match, he was not able to play the remainder of the tournament. In November 2007, FIFA announced that he would be awarded the 1962 medal retroactively, making him the only player in the world to have three World Cup winning medals.
Since his retirement in 1977, Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador for football and has undertaken various acting roles and commercial ventures. In August 2010, he was named the Honorary President of the New York Cosmos.