Regarded as one of the world’s greatest footballers ever, Pelé was a tremendous force to be reckoned with. Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in 1940, Pelé’s story began in Três Corações Brazil.

Pelé always had a natural zest and love for Football. This football dream was supported by his father who was also a keen footballer. So naturally, it was not long before the young Pelé started playing the game professionally.

Pelé was first recognised for his super quick footballing skills by Brazilian footballer Waldemar de Brito. This led to Pelé playing for the prominent Santos Futebol Clube at the age of 15, the club that he would end up playing for, for most of his football career. As they say, the rest is history.

Still unknown at this point, the young footballer started to dazzle the world with his football prowess. He not only debuted for Brazil in the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland but he became the youngest footballer to score in a game. This goal, scored during the Brazil v Wales game, not only catapulted his team from quarter finals to semi-finals but it was the only goal conceded. That’s not all; he impressively scored 6 goals throughout the tournament. Is it any wonder that Brazil went on to win the competition?

Pelé’s ascension into making football history showed no signs of halting. Although plagued by injuries, he went on to play in the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile, the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England and the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, making him the only footballer to have been a part of a 3 time World Cup winning squad. 

Inevitably, many teams wanted Pelé to play for their club and they offered huge financial incentives but such was the footballer’s unique talent, that the Brazilian government declared him a national treasure. This tactical move prevented any international transfers of any sorts and brought Santos more trophies.

Pelé ended his playing career in 1974. He briefly came out of retirement in 1977 with a stint at the New York Cosmos before shortly retiring for good.  By the end of his football career, he had amassed 1,282 goals in 1,363 games. He won 9 State Championship and 3 World Cups. He was also given the International Peace Award in 1978 for his dedication towards improving diplomatic relations and, along with Diego Maradona, was named joint football player of the century by FIFA in 1991.

So what’s the secret? Anyone would think that the intricate footwork on pitch comes easily to the football legend, but Pelé has stated “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” Ask any football fan who their favourite footballer of all time is and one answer that always pops up, is Pelé. A look back at the football hero’s career shows that this accolade is not without merit.