Brazil’s Sao Paulo CNN The first global symbol of soccer, Pelé, a Brazilian hero who won three World Cups, has passed away at age 82. His daughter Kely Nascimento captioned a photo of her and her family clutching Pele’s hands on Instagram, “Everything that we are, is owing to you.” “You have our utmost affection. Peace be with you. Late in November, Pelé was hospitalised in So Paulo with complications from colon cancer and a respiratory infection. His health had gotten worse as his malignancy got worse, the hospital reported last week. According to a statement from Albert Einstein Hospital, he passed away on Thursday as a result of multiple organ failure brought on by the advancement of colon cancer. Soccer has been associated with Pelé for more than 60 years. The only player in history to participate in all four World Cups and win three of them, he left a lasting impact that went far beyond his collection of awards and exceptional goal-scoring stats. Pelé famously remarked, “I was born to play football, just like Beethoven was born to compose music and Michelangelo was born to paint. Many people have paid tribute to the legendary soccer player. Santos FC, Pelé’s first team, tweeted “forever” along with a picture of a crown in response to the news.


                                                                                               Image source: John Mathew Smith 

At age 15, Pelé joined Santos, and at age 16, he joined the Brazil national team. He was the only player to win three FIFA World Cups throughout his international career, in 1958, 1962, and 1970. After the 1958 match, he earned the moniker O Rei (The King). With 77 goals in 92 games, Pelé is tied for the most goals scored by a Brazilian. He was Santos’ all-time leading scorer at the club level with 643 goals in 659 games. He guided Santos to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores as well as the 1962 and 1963 Intercontinental Cup during a prosperous period for the team. With his “electrifying skill and flair for spectacular goals,” Pelé is credited with introducing the phrase “The Beautiful Game” to football and his crews undertook an international tour to fully capitalise on his notoriety. During his playing career, Pelé held the title of highest-paid athlete in the world for a while. Pelé became a global football ambassador after retiring in 1977 and engaged in a number of acting and business endeavors. He was chosen as the New York Cosmos’ honorary president in 2010 Throughout his career, Pelé scored nearly one goal per game and was skilled at striking the ball with either foot in addition to reading the movements of his opponents. Although he was primarily a striker, he had the ability to drop deep and assume a playmaking role. He would use his vision and passing prowess to provide assists, as well as his dribbling abilities to elude defenders. He was revered as a national hero in Brazil for both his football prowess and his vocal advocacy for measures that would better the socioeconomic conditions of the underprivileged. Inspiration stemmed from his rise to fame at the 1958 World Cup, where he became the first black sporting icon on a global scale. In both his professional and post-career years, Pelé received numerous individual and group honors’ for his on-field performance, his world-record accomplishments, and his contribution to the sport.

Early years

Pelé was born in Três Coraçes, Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1940. The city has named Rua Edson Arantes do Nascimento after him. In a square close to the city’s center, a statue of Pelé is also prominently displayed. The son of Fluminense football player Dondinho (born Joo Ramos do Nascimento) and Celeste Arantes, Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on October 23, 1940, in Três Coraçes, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He was the eldest of two siblings and was given the name Thomas Edison in honour of American inventor Thomas Edison. Due to an error on the birth certificate, numerous records list his name as “Edison,” not “Edson,” as his parents had intended called. His family gave him the moniker “Dico” at first. It is said that he was given the moniker “Pelé” in school because of how he mispronounced the name of his favorite player, the local Vasco da Gama goalie Bilé. However, the more he complained, the more the nickname stuck. Pelé claimed in his memoirs that neither he nor his former pals knew the meaning of the moniker. The word has no recognised Portuguese meaning, with the exception of the claim that it is derived from “Bilé” and that it is the Hebrew word for “miracle.”In the So Paulo state’s Bauru, Pelé was raised in abject poverty. He worked as a servant in tea houses to make additional cash. He was taught how to play by his father, but as he couldn’t buy a true football, he typically used a grapefruit or a sock that had been filled with newspaper and knotted with twine. In his younger years, he participated in amateur sports for a number of teams, including Sete de Setembro, Canto do Rio, So Paulinho, and Amériquinha. Waldemar de Brito’s junior team at Bauru Athletic Club won two So Paulo state youth titles under Pelé’s direction. He was a member of the Radium indoor football team in his mid-teens. When Pelé started playing indoor football in Bauru, it had just recently gained popularity. He played in the first futsal match competition for (indoor football) in the area. The inaugural title was won by Pelé and his team, along with several others.

                                                                                               Image source – El Gráfico

Pelé claimed that futsal (indoor football) posed tremendous challenges since it was more faster than traditional football on grass and because players had to think quickly because everyone was so near to one another on the field. Pelé believes that playing futsal has improved his on-the-spot reasoning. When he was about 14 years old, futsal also allowed him to play alongside grownups. Although he was initially deemed too young to compete in one of the tournaments he attended, he ultimately finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with 14 or 15 goals. Pelé remarked, “I knew then not to be afraid of anything might occur. That gave me a lot of confidence. “In 1962, Pelé was considered the best player in the world at the time De Brito brought Pelé to Santos in 1956 to try out for professional team Santos FC, a port and industrial city close to So Paulo. De Brito told the Santos directors that the 15-year-old would be “the best football player in the world.”
[16] During his trial at the Estádio Vila Belmiro, Pelé made a good impression on Santos coach Lula, and in June 1956, he agreed to a professional deal with the team.  The local media heavily marketed Pelé as a potential superstar. When he made his senior squad debut on September 7, 1956, against Corinthians de Santo André, he was only 15 years old.7-1 triumph; during the game, he scored his first goal of a fruitful career. Pelé received a starting position on the first team at the start of the 1957 campaign, and at the age of 16, he rose to the position of leading scorer in the league. The adolescent was selected for the Brazil national squad ten months after signing a professional contract. Rich European clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus, and Manchester United unsuccessfully wanted to sign him after the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. Even though Inter Milan was able to secure him a regular deal in 1958, Angelo Moratti was compelled to renege on the agreement at the chairman of Santos’ request as a result of a Santos fan uprising. A deal that would have brought Pelé to Valencia CF after the 1958 World Cup was also prepared by the club, but after his Santos refused to let the player depart due to their performance at the competition. Pelé was designated a “official national treasure” by the Brazilian government in 1961, under President Jânio Quadros, to prevent his transfer outside of the nation.

                                                                         Image source: Dutch National Archives

When Santos won the Campeonato Paulista in 1958, Pelé won his first major championship. He finished the competition as the tournament’s leading scorer with 58 goals, a mark that still holds today. He would assist the squad in their first triumph in the Torneio Rio-Sao Paulo the following year, a 3-0 victory over Vasco da Gama. Santos, however, was unable to defend his Paulista crown. In 1960, Pelé led his club to victory in the Campeonato Paulista with 33 goals, but his eighth-place result prevented him from competing in the Rio-Sao Paulo competition. In the 1960 campaign, Pelé led Santos to victory in the Campeonato Paulista with 47 goals. The next year, the team defeated Bahia to win the Taça Brasil. Pelé scored nine goals in the finals to take home the tournament’s most goal total. Santos was able to compete in the Copa Libertadores, the most important club competition in the Western Hemisphere, thanks to the triumph.1962 marked the commencement of Santos’ most prosperous Copa Libertadores campaign;[30] the squad was seeded in Group One alongside Cerro Porteo and Deportivo Municipal Bolivia, winning all but one of their group’s games (a 1–1 away tie versus Cerro). In the finals, Santos faced the defending winners Pearol after defeating Universidad Católica in the semifinals. Pelé scored twice in the playoff game to give Brazil’s team their first championship. With four goals, Pelé ended as the competition’s second-highest scorer. Pelé scored 37 goals for Santos in the Campeonato Paulista that year, and the team won the Taça Brasil after Pelé scored four goals against Botafogo in the championship series. In 1962, Santos defeated Benfica to win the Intercontinental Cup.  He was sporting a number 10 shirt Santos triumphed 5-2, and Pelé put on one of his best performances of his career by scoring a hat-trick in Lisbon.

                                                                                                 Image source: Boca Juniors

Santos automatically advanced to the 1963 Copa Libertadores semifinal round as the defending champions. After victories over Botafogo and Boca Juniors, Santos for Pelé, known as the ballet blanco, was able to hold onto the championship. With a last-second goal in the first leg of the semi-finals that tied the score at 1-1, Pelé assisted Santos in their victory over a Botafogo team that included legendary Brazilian players like Garrincha and Jairzinho. Santos won the second leg, 0-4, thanks to three goals from Pelé in the Estádio do Maracan. Santos won the opening leg of the championship series 3-2 and defeated Boca Juniors 1-2 at La Bombonera. With another goal from Pelé, it was an exceptional accomplishment in official contests. the only Brazilian team to win the Copa Libertadores on Argentine soil to date. Pelé scored five goals in total to win the competition. Santos finished third in the Campeonato Paulista and was eliminated, but went on to win the Rio-Sao Paulo competition after defeating Flamengo 0-3 in the championship game, with one goal scored by Pelé. Against AC Milan and Bahia, respectively, Pelé would also aid Santos in defending the Intercontinental Cup and the Taça Brasil In order to watch Pelé play in an exhibition match in Lagos in 1969, the two sides in the Nigerian Civil War agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire. Stationary Stores FC of Lagos and Santos ultimately played to a 2-2 draw, with Pelé scoring both of his team’s goals. Following this game, the civil war continued for an additional year. [42] Pelé played with many talented players during his time at Santos, including Zito, Pepe, and Coutinho, who frequently teamed up with him in one-two plays, attacks, and goals.  Up until December 2020, Lionel Messi of Barcelona held the record for the most goals ever scored for a single club, surpassing Pelé’s 643 goals for Santos. In 1969, the two sides in the Nigerian Civil War agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire so that Lagos residents could watch Pelé play in an exhibition game. Final score: 2-2 draw, with Pelé scoring both goals for Stationary Stores FC of Lagos and Santos. The civil war continued for an additional year after this match. [42] During his tenure at Santos, Pelé shared the field with a number of outstanding players, including Zito, Pepe, and Coutinho, who frequently partnered with him in one-two plays, attacks, and goals. Lionel Messi of Barcelona, who surpassed Pelé’s 643 goals for Santos, held the record for the most goals ever scored for a single club until December 2020.