Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈɛtsõ (w)ɐˈɾɐ̃tʃiz du nɐsiˈmẽtu]), who is better known as Pelé (Brazilian Portuguese: [pe̞ˈlɛ], and who was born on either October 21 or 23, 1940,[1]), is a retired Brazilian footballer who is widely regarded to be the best football player of all time.[12] In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).[13] The same year, France Football consulted their former Ballon D'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century, selecting Pelé.[14] In 1999, Pelé was elected Athlete of the Century by the IOC, and Time named him in their list of 100 most influential people of the 20th century.[15] In 2013 he received the FIFA Ballon d'Or Prix d'Honneur in recognition of his career and achievements as a global icon of football.[16]

According to the IFFHS, Pelé is the most successful league goal scorer in the world, with 541 league goals.[17] In total Pelé scored 1281 goals in 1363 games, including unofficial friendlies and tour games, for which he was listed in the Guinness World Records for most career goals scored in football.[18] During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world.[19] In his native Brazil, he is hailed as a national hero, for his accomplishments in football, and for his vocal support of policies to improve the social conditions of the poor.[20] In 1961, Brazil President Jânio Quadros had Pelé declared a national treasure.[21] During his career, he became known as "The Black Pearl" (Pérola Negra), "The King of Football" (O Rei do Futebol), "The King Pelé" (O Rei Pelé) or simply "The King" (O Rei).[22]

Pelé began playing for Santos at 15 and the Brazil national football team at 16. He won three FIFA World Cups; 1958, 1962 and 1970, the only player ever to do so, and is the all-time leading goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games.[23] At club level he is also the record goalscorer for Santos, and led them to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores.[24] Pelé's electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a star around the world, and his club team Santos toured internationally in order to take full advantage of his popularity.[25]

Since retiring in 1977, Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador for football and has undertaken various acting roles and commercial ventures. In 2010, he was named the Honorary President of the New York Cosmos. 


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