Pele is regarded by many as the greatest footballer to have played the beautiful game.
Born in Tres Coracoes, Minoas Gerias, Brazil, Pele was discovered at the age of 11 and a few years later was brought to Sao Paulo to play for Santos.
He scored on his debut at 16 against Corinthians F.C, and by the following season was the top scorer in the league.
In 1958, Pele won his first World Cup medal and scored twice in Brazil's win over Sweden in the final. He played in the next three world cups for Brazil, winning again in 1962 and for the third time with the great 1970 side.
Managed by Zagalo, in addition to Pele the team boasted Carlos Alberto, Jairzinho, Tostão and Rivelino (Corinthians).
Pele scored over 1,280 goals in his 1,363 professional games.
He played mainly for Santos, where he also became a director, but Pele did accept a lucrative contact with the New York Cosmos in the late 1970s.
In 1981, Pele was part of the star-studded cast of the film Escape to Victory which was once voted the best footballing film of all time.
Pele won the FIFA award for Best Soccer Player of the Twentieth Century, and was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1994.
Pele was given a lifetime achievement award in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, 2005.
Pele once explained how he was not too happy to get his nickname: "Pele isn't my real name, my real name is Edson. A class-mate wanted to anger me with the name Pele, so I punched him and got suspended from school. I didn't want the name. Pele sounds like baby-talk in Portuguese."
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