Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, also known as Pelé, was born into a very poor family. His parents, Dondinho and Celeste Nascimento, often called him “Dico” while he was growing up. He learned how to play soccer from his father who played for a while until his career was halted by a fractured leg.
As a teenager he began playing for a local minor-league club. He was discovered at the age of 11 by Waldemar de Brito, one of the country’s premier players. Brito said, “This boy will be the greatest soccer player in the world”, when he had brought him to Sao Paulo and presented him to the disbelieving directors of the professional team in Santos. Pele immediately had an impact upon everyone. During his first appearance for the team against Corinthians F.C. he immediately scored a goal. He was only 16 years old.
Pelé continued to astonish the world. He went on to play in four of the World Cups with Brazil’s National Team. At the 1958 World Cup, in Sweden, he stunned everyone by scoring six goals, two of which were in the championship game. This helped Brazil win its first World Cup over Sweden. He was only 17.
His outstanding skills in manipulating the ball, to shoot powerful goals, and speed immediately set him off from the rest of the players. He was a legend before the age of 18. He could of easily played any position but choose to play the position of inside left forward. His amazing balance and ability to dribble around defenders, as well as his goal making skills, made him perfect for that position.
Several wealthy European clubs offered massive amounts of money for the young player but the government of Brazil declared him an official nation treasure. This prevented him from being transferred out of the country.
In 1970 during the finals in Mexico, Pelé led Brazil into winning its third World Cup. This was Brazil’s 100th World Cup goal and he quotes that it was the one that he remembers the most.
“I have a special feeling for that goal because I scored it with my head. My father was a soccer player and once scored five goals in a game, all with his head. That was one record I was never able to break.”
However Pelé has some of the most staggering statistics. During his soccer career he succeeded in scoring 1,280 goals in only 1,360 games. This puts him second to only another Brazilian, Arthur Friedenreich, who recorded 1,329 goals. That is to say that Pelé scored a goal in almost every international came he participated in; that is equivalent of a baseball player hitting a home run in every World Series game over 15 years! He also holds the world record for hat tricks, 92, as well as the number of goals scored on an international level (97). Compared to some of the top players this is amazing seeing as to many can barely score more than 30 goals in a season.