Biography of Pele
Pele Born on 23rd October, 1940 in Tres Coracoes, Brazil, soccer legend Pele became a superstar with his performance in the 1958 World Cup. Pele played professionally in Brazil for two decades, winning three World Cups along the way, before joining the New York Cosmos late in his career. Named FIFA co – Player of the Century in 1999, he is a global ambassador for soccer and other humanitarian causes.
Childhood of Pele
The first child of Joao Ramos and Dona Celeste. Named after Thomas Edison and nicknamed “Dico,” Pele moved with his family to the city of Bauru as a young boy.
Joao Ramos, better known as “Dondinho,” struggled to earn a living as a soccer player, and Pele grew up in poverty. Still, he developed a rudimentary talent for soccer by kicking a rolled – up sock stuffed with rags around the streets of Bauru. The origin of the “Pele” nickname is Unclear, though he recalled despising it when his friends first referred to him that way.
As an adolescent, Pele joined a youth squad coached by Waldemar de Brito, a former member of the Brazilian national soccer team. De Brito eventually convinced Pele’s family to let the budding phenom leave home and try out for the Santos professional soccer club when he was 15.
Soccer’s National Treasure
Pele signed with Santos and immediately started practicing with the team’s regulars. He scored the first professional goal of his career before he turned 16, led the league in goals in his first full season and was recruited to play for the Brazilian national team.
The world was officially introduced to Pele in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Displaying remarkable speed, athleticism and field vision, the 17 year old erupted to score three goals in a 5 – 2 semifinal win over France, then netted two more in the finals, a 5 – 2 win over the host country.
The young superstar received hefty offers to play for European clubs, and Brazilian President Janio Quadros eventually had Pele declared a national treasure, making it legally difficult for him to play in another country. Regardless, Santos club ownership ensured its star attraction was well paid by scheduling lucrative exhibition matches with teams around the world.
World Cup Titles for Pele
Pele aggravated a groin injury two games into the 1962 World Cup in Chile, sitting out the final rounds while Brazil went on to claim its second straight title. Four years later, in England, a series of brutal attacks by opposing defenders again forced him to the sidelines with leg injuries, and Brazil was bounced from the World Cup after one round.
Despite the disappointment on the world stage, the legend of Pele continued to grow. In the late 1960s, the two factions in the Nigerian Civil War reportedly agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire so they could watch Pele play in an exhibition game in Lagos.
The 1970 World Cup in Mexico marked a triumphant return to glory for Pele and Brazil. Headlining a formidable squad, Pele scored four goals in the tournament, including one in the final to give Brazil a 4 – 1 victory over Italy.
Pele announced his retirement from soccer in 1974, but he was lured back to the field the following year to play for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, and temporarily helped make the NASL a big attraction. He played his final game in an exhibition between New York and Santos in October 1977, competing for both sides, and retired with a Total of 1,281 Goals in 1,363 Games.
Pele went on to score over 1,000 goals in professional games. ( The 1000th goal coming as a penalty in the US league sparking celebrations around the world ). His strike rate in international games was one of the highest ever. In 92 appearances, he scored 77 goals.
Pele The Legend Lives On
Retirement did little to diminish the public profile of Pele, who remained a popular pitchman and active in many professional arenas.
In 1978, Pele was awarded the International Peace Award for his work with UNICEF. He has also served as Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister for Sport and a United Nations ambassador for ecology and the environment.
Pele was named FIFA’s “Co – Player of the Century” in 1999, along with Argentine Diego Maradona. To many, his accomplishments on the soccer field will never be equaled, and virtually all great athletes in the sport are measured against the Brazilian who once made the world stop to watch his transcendent play.