Ten Things to Know About Brazilian Legend Pele

Pele's Mother to Say Farewell to Son After Being Unaware of His Death (News Central TV)

Pele, the first player in history to win three World Cups, went yesterday at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo after a battle with cancer; he sprang to fame after defeating Sweden in the 1958 World Cup final with two goals, making him an instant icon of the sport.

After a battle with cancer, the former striker, who is the first player in history to win three World Cups, died at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo.

With 77 goals in 92 games, Pele is one of Brazil’s all-time leading scorers. He rose to fame after Brazil won the 1958 World Cup as a 17-year-old, defeating hosts Sweden with two goals in the final.

A message from Pele’s official Twitter account on Thursday read: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today. Love, love and love, forever.”

Below are Ten Things About Pele;

1. He was named after inventor Thomas Edison: His original name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, but he went by Thomas Edison after the invention of the lightbulb, as his community had only received electricity at the time of his birth.

He did not like his nickname, despite the fact that it is now a household name. Pele stated in a Guardian piece from 2006: “I thought Pele sounded awful. It was an awful name. Edson’s voice was so much more authoritative and serious.

As a young child, he was given the moniker Pele as he accidentally mispronounced the name of one of his father’s colleagues, goalkeeper Vasco de Sao Lourenco, who was known as “Bile”.

2. He has unofficially scored 1,283 professional goals: Even now, debate rages over Pele’s goal total. Pele holds the Guinness World Record for most career goals scored in football with 1,279, despite the Prolific Scorers Data claiming he has only scored 778 goals, a total only surpassed by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The controversy stems from Pele’s frequent friendlies while on tour with Santos, which were ambiguous.

In 2015, Pele personally weighed in on the debate by claiming that the true number was 1,283.

3. He led Brazil to their first World Cup win: 1958 saw Pele lead Brazil to their first World Cup triumph with six goals in four games. At the competition, he also won the Fifa Young Player Award for the first time, making history as the tournament’s youngest-ever winner.

He continues to be the only footballer to have three World Cup victories. Fascinatingly, Pele had to put his career on hold after his triumphs at the World Cup in order to spend six months in the military.

4. He grew up in poverty: Pele started shoe-shining and selling roasted peanuts outside of movie theaters when he was just 6 years old. He practiced his ball handling and dribbling skills with a sock filled with rags because his family couldn’t afford a football.

He also established a team known as “The Shoeless Ones” while playing barefoot. Pele is thought to be the inspiration for the name “pelada,” a Brazilian term for barefoot games conducted in open spaces.

5. His first professional contract paid him only US$10 a month: Pele was barely 15 years old when he signed his first professional contract with Santos in 1956, and his monthly salary was under US$10. He bought his family a gas stove with his pay.

He became the highest-paid team athlete in the world at the time when he signed a record-breaking three-year, US$7 million contract with the American team New York Cosmos 19 years later. Pele had to pay the United States around $2 million in taxes from the contract, which he gladly did.

10 Things to Know About Brazilian Legend Pele (News Central TV)

6. His appearance caused a ceasefire in a civil war in 1967: He was so well-known worldwide that in 1967 Pele briefly put an end to a civil conflict in Nigeria. To allow Federal and Rebel troops to watch him play when he visited, a 48-hour ceasefire was declared.

Due to high demand, the New York Cosmos had to prepare shirts for every member of the opposition squad before every game when Pele played for them.

Pele was the key draw, according to one of the Cosmos’ coaches at the time, Gordon Bradley. We occasionally had to bring 25 or 30 jerseys to a game since we wouldn’t have made it out of the stadium alive otherwise.

7. He once served as Brazil’s Minister for Sport: Pele was nominated as the Extraordinary Minister for Sport by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the president of Brazil, in 1995. Pele established the “Pele Law” during his three-year tenure, modernising the nation’s sports business.

The measure released juvenile athletes from contracts they had signed with their teams at a young age and required all professional local sports clubs to pay tax within two years.

8. He did his part for charity: He assisted in the battle against corruption in Brazil and the preservation of the environment after being named the UN’s goodwill ambassador in 1994.

In 2018, Pele established his charitable organization, Roots of Fight, with the goal of supporting organisations working tirelessly to empower children around the world, particularly in the areas of eradicating poverty and gaining access to education.

9. He never won the Ballon D’Or: Despite his enormous accomplishments, Pele was unable to win the Ballon d’Or throughout his playing career since until 1995, only European players were eligible for the prestigious honor. The honorary Ballon d’Or award was later given to him by Fifa in 2014.

10. November 19 is Pele Day in Brazil: The Maracana stadium roared as he purportedly scored his 1,000th career goal on November 19, 1969, while playing for Santos against rival Vasco da Gama. Fans reportedly ran onto the field to hold him aloft, causing a 30-minute delay in play. Pele Day is now observed on November 19 in Brazil.


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