Edson Arrantes de Nascimento by his full name, Pele was born in Tres Coracoes in Brazil, in a family that loved soccer, his father being himself a player for Fluminese (his father was known as Dondinho). In this sporty atmosphere, the young Pele learned to enjoy the game, despite the poverty he grew up in.
The family’s situation was even harder when his father had to quit playing soccer professionally due to a knee injury. Thus, for young Pele, soccer was what he regarded as the only way out of poverty and he started training daily, but since he had no money to buy a real ball, he used a stuffed sock instead.
After forming up a “shoeless team” with his street kids, Pele and his team participated in a youth tournament, with Pele ending up as top goalscoarer. He was immediately noticed by former Brazilian international Waldemar de Brito, who called him to the youth squad of Baquinho, whom he trained and, for the first time, offered Pele money to play soccer. During his year at the club’s youth team, Pele managed to win the championship after a dazzling performance: 148 goals in just 33 matches.
At just 15 years of age, Pele was bought by Brazil giants Santos, where he would later team up with some of Brazil’s finest players of that era and future World Cup winners, such as Zito, Pepe or Coutinho. Just one year later after he joined Santos, he became the youngest player to start in the Brazilian first division at age 16 and even more incredibly, he became league top scorer at the end of the season! Talk about starting with the right foot.
As it was not yet the era of Brazilian players running for European careers, Pele remained at Santos for almost 20 years, time in which he scored (read carefully) 1087 goals in 1120 matches. Even if you’re not that good at maths, I’m sure you can acknowledge that as an astonishing goal per match ratio.
One of the milestones in the history of Pele was definitely his 1000th goal scored in all competitions. It was both a highly anticipated moment and an emotional one. On November 19th, 1969 Pele already had scored 999 goals in his career, either for Santos or Brazil’s national team. Playing on the Maracana Stadium, Brazil’s “cathedral of soccer”, against arch-rivals Vasco Da Gama, Pele managed to score from a penalty kick and broke all records standing in front of him.
NATIONAL TEAM & RECORDS
Throughout his 15 years spent at the Brazil national team, Pele managed to break hundreds of records, but we’ll just follow up on those that are deemed most important:
- He became the most prolific striker in Brazil’s history, with 77 goals in 92 matches.
- Pele, the footballer who used to shine shoes in order to raise money for a real soccer ball, scored 12 goals in different World Cup matches, being beaten only by Ronaldo.
- He is considered by FIFA the most prolific scorer in soccer history, with 1281 goals in 1363 matches in all competitions.
- He is the only player to have won three World Cups (gasp!), although he did not receive a medal for the one in 1962, since he was injured in the final (he played on several other matches throughout the campaign though)
- He is one of the few players to achieve the performance of scoring in two different World Cup finals, sharing this record with Paul Breitner, Vava and Zinedine Zidane.
Checkout the ASCII Art of Pele in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.