Pele……….O Rei do Futebol!!

Edison Arantes do Nascimento, better known by his nickname Pele, is a famous, former Brazilian football (soccer) player.  He is widely known as the greatest football player of all time.

In Brazil, Pele is known 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 King of Football” (O Rei do Futebol), “The King Pelé” (O Rei Pelé) or simply “The King” (O Rei).

Pelé was born in Três Corações, Brazil, the son of a Fluminense footballer Dondinho (born João Ramos do Nascimento) and Maria Celeste Arantes. He was named after the American inventor Thomas Edison, however his parents decided to remove the ‘i’ and call him ‘Edson’. But there was a mistake on the birth certificate, leading many documents to show his name as ‘Edison’, not ‘Edson’, as he is actually called. He was originally nicknamed Dico by his family. He did not receive the nickname “Pelé” until his school days, when it is claimed he was given it because of his pronunciation of the name of his favorite player, local Vasco da Gama goalkeeper Bilé, which he misspoke but the more he complained the more it stuck. In his autobiography, Pelé stated he had no idea what the name means, nor did his old friends. Apart from the assertion that the name is derived from that of Bilé, the word has no known meaning, although it is the name of a Hawaiian volcano goddess and it does resemble the Irish language word peile, meaning football.

Pele grew up in poverty in Bauru, São Paulo. He earned extra money by working in tea shops as a servant. Taught to play by his coach, he could not afford a proper football and usually played with either a sock stuffed with newspaper, tied with a string or a grapefruit.

Pele began playing football at the age of 15. At 16 he began playing for the Brazilian national team.  He won his first World Cup title at 17.  Despite numerous offers from European clubs, and the economic conditions of Brazil, Pele stayed in Brazil, playing football for Santos, an organized junior football team in Brazil.

His first match in the World Cup was against USSR in the first round of the 1958 FIFA World Cup. He was the youngest player of that tournament and at the time the youngest ever to play in the World Cup. He scored his first World Cup goal against Wales in quarterfinals, the only goal of the match, to help Brazil advance to semifinals, while becoming the youngest ever World Cup goal scorer at 17 years and 239 days. Against France in the semifinal, Brazil was leading 2–1 at halftime, and then Pelé scored a hat-trick, becoming the youngest in World Cup history to do so.

On 19 June 1958 Pelé became the youngest player to play in a World Cup final match at 17 years and 249 days. He scored two goals in the final as Brazil beat Sweden 5–2. His first goal, a lob over a defender followed by a precise volley shot, was selected as one of the best goals in the history of the World Cup.  He finished the tournament with six goals in four matches played, tied for second place.  He would go on to win two more World Cup titles in 1962 and 1970.

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.  Since his retirement in 1977, he has been a worldwide ambassador for football.

-Darold Ingram

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~ by daroldingram on June 23, 2010.

One Response to “Pele……….O Rei do Futebol!!”

  1. Talk about a successful YP!! 🙂

    -Caitlin

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