The Brazilian legend and global soccer icon Pelé passed away at the age of 82 on December 29, 2022. The 3-time World Cup champion had been battling health issues related to colon cancer and was recently hospitalized due to further complications.
Long live the legend Pelé. Forever in our hearts on and off the pitch.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé was a Brazilian professional footballer who played as a forward. He was born on October 23, 1940. He was among the most prosperous and well-known athletes of the 20th century, and FIFA even referred to him as “the best” player of all time. He was named the International Olympic Committee’s Athlete of the Century in 1999, and Time named him one of the 100 most influential individuals of the 20th century. Pelé was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award in 2000 and was chosen by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) as the World Player of the Century. Including friendly, he scored 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which is recognized as a Guinness World Record.
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 has 643 goals in 659 games, becoming him Santos’ all-time leading scorer at the club level.
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. Pelé is credited with introducing the term “The Beautiful Game” to football. His “electrifying skill and fondness for spectacular goals” made him a global celebrity, and his teams traveled abroad to capitalize on his fame. During his playing career, Pelé held the title of highest-paid athlete in the world for a while. Since his retirement in 1977, Pelé has acted in several films and ventured into business. He also serves as a global ambassador for football. He was chosen as the New York Cosmos‘ honorary president in 2010.
Throughout his career, Pelé scored about one goal per game and was skilled at hitting 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 position. He would use his vision and passing prowess to provide assists, as well as his dribbling abilities to elude defenders.
He is revered as a national hero in Brazil for both his football prowess and his vocal advocacy for measures that advance the socioeconomic circumstances of the underprivileged. Inspiration stemmed from his rise to fame at the 1958 World Cup, where he became the first black athletic icon on a worldwide scale. For his brilliance on the field, his record-breaking feats, and his legacy in the sport, Pelé won several individual and team honors throughout his career and after he retired.