PELE – MOST PROLIFIC BRAZILIAN STRIKER

EARLY CAREER

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.

SANTOS

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.

1000TH GOAL

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.

http://www.4shared.com/document/wHIlKMmK/Pele_ASCII.html

LIONEL MESSI – DIEGO MARADONA’S SUCCESSOR

Lionel Andrés Messi (born June 24, 1987 in Rosario) is an Argentine football (soccer) player. Lionel Messi started playing football at a very early age in his hometown’s Newell’s Old Boys. From the age of 11, he suffered from a hormone deficiency and as Lionel’s parents were unable to pay for the treatment in Argentina, they decided to move to Barcelona, Spain.

In the 2003-2004 season, when he was still only 16, Messi made his first team debut in a friendly with Porto that marked the opening of the new Dragao stadium. The following championship-winning season, Messi made his first appearance in an official match on October 16, 2004, in Barcelona’s derby win against Espanyol at the Olympic Stadium (0-1).

With several first team players seriously injured, the services of several reserve team players were called upon, and Messi became a regular feature of Barça squads. On May 1, 2005, he became the youngest player ever to score a league goal for FC Barcelona against Albacete when Messi was only 17 years, 10 months and 7 days old.

He was offered the chance to play for the Spain national football team, but declined, prefering to wait for the opportunity to play for the country of his birth. In June 2004 he got his chance, playing in a U-20 friendly match against Paraguay. In June 2005 he starred for the Argentina U-20 team that won the Football World Youth Championship played in The Netherlands. Messi picked up the Golden Boot as top scorer with 6 goals, and the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament. Despite his youth, Lionel has already drawn comparisons with Diego Maradona, arguably the best football player of all time.

On September 25, 2005 Messi obtained a Spanish citizenship and was finally able to make his debut in this season’s Spanish First Division. He had previously been unable to play because FC Barcelona had filled up all of their quota of non-EU players. Messi’s first outing in the UEFA Champions League at the Nou Camp was on Sept 28 against Italian club Udinese. He impressed with some great passing and a seemingly telepathic relationship with Ronaldinho that earned him a standing ovation from the 70,000-odd Nou Camp faithful. On December of that year, the Italian newspaper Tuttosport awarded him the Golden Boy 2005 title for the best under-21 player in Europe, over Wayne Rooney and Lukas Podolski.

In September 2005, Messi was given an improved and extended contract until 2014.

Checkout the ASCII Art of Lionel Messi 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.

http://www.4shared.com/document/HhtaNZ50/Lionel_Messi_ASCII.html

ROBINHO – THE BRAZILIAN PEARL

Robson de Souza (born January 25, 1984 in Sao Vicente, Brazil), nicknamed Robinho (Little Robson), is a Brazilian footballer currently playing for Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team. Robinho has earned praise for his expert use of the pedalada and field speed. He is widely regarded as one of the best young players in the world.

Born in Parque Bitaru, a poor neighborhood of Sao Vicente, Robinho took to playing football when he had little other. At six, Robinho was taken on by Beira-Mar, a local escolinha, and they took the championship in his first year. Robinho was claimed to look just like his teammate Marcelo, the spanish fans called them “the two twins”.

In 1993, at the age of nine, Robinho drew attention by scoring 73 goals for the Portuerios futsal team. Robinho joined the Santos youth program, at the time was overseen by Brazilian football legend Pele. Pele brought Robinho into the Santos FC youth dorms, where Robinho received his first regular schedule of three meals a day.

In 2002, Robinho graduated to the Santos first team. His work at the front helped them win the Brazilian National Championships in 2002 and 2004, as well as place second to Boca Juniors in the 2003 Copa Libertadores. Robinho’s contributions to Santos attracted a great deal of attention from the top European football clubs. A world class player that looks to be on the verge of a European move.

Robinho’s skill drew the offers of several European clubs, but it took the kidnapping of his mother in late 2004 to convince him to leave. On July 31, 2005, Robinho signed with Real Madrid for five years at $30 million and joined his fellow Brazilian internationals Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Jalio Baptista. He made his La Liga debut on August 28 in a 2-1 victory against Cadiz as a second half substitute for Thomas Gravesen. In his first season, Robinho scored eight goals, but the arrival of Josa Antonio Reyes has brought the length of Robinho’s stay into question. One of his most recent performances though, in the “El Clesico” against Barcelona, which he earned the Man of the Match award may have impressed Fabio Capello. It has been reported that on 12th February Robinho may be allowed to leave Real Madrid for a fee of $30 million at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Robinho backed again that decision saying he’d like to prove himself that he is capable of impressing his coach and teammates.

NATIONAL TEAM

In 2003, Robinho was called up to join the prestigious ranks of the Brazilian national football team. His first international appearance came in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, where despite his team’s loss, Robinho displayed his talent on the international stage.

Robinho played in each game of the 2006 FIFA World Cup group stage, but only started in the final game against Japan. Many fans say he should be on the starting lineup, but his small size is a disadvantage when playing against bigger players. However, whenever he had the playing chance he showed impressive signs and managed to dribble past even the world class defenders.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Like many talented young Brazilian footballers, Robinho has been compared to his nation’s great players by both fans and the sports media. Robinho’s footwork and mercurial speed has many believing that he can carry on the mantle of Pele, Garrincha and Romario in Brazilian football.

As of late, fans have also begun to foment a potential rivalry between Robinho and Argentinian striker Lionel Messi, who has been hailed as a wonderkid in football, and therefore a natural counterpart to Robinho. Contrasts between the two include the fact that they each represent rival Latin American football powerhouses (Brazil and Argentina) they play opposite each other in the premiere rival clubs of La Liga (Robinho for Real Madrid and Messi for FC Barcelona) and interestingly, there are the comparisons to the greatest living footballers in the world (Messi has been hailed by Argentinian fans and media as “the new Maradona” and Robinho with Pele). He has never gone on record to say his club football desires, yet there has been speculation that he would like to go to either Italy or England in the future.

Robinho also shares the same birthday as the legendary Portuguese football player, Eusebio. In February, 2007, Robinho was quoted as saying “Reports that I’d move to Tottenham are wide of the mark. If I had to leave Real, I’d choose to join another a big club. I don’t regard Tottenham Hotspur as a big club.”

Checkout the ASCII Art of Robinho 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.

http://www.4shared.com/document/BIUY8-gQ/Robinho_ASCII.html