Edson Arantes do Nascimento ( born 23 October 1940), known as Pelé , is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who played as a forward. He is regarded by many in the sport, including football writers, players, and fans, as the greatest player of all time. In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award. That same year, Pelé was elected Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. According to the IFFHS, Pelé is the most successful league goal-scorer in the world, scoring 1281 goals in 1363 games, which included unofficial friendlies and tour games. During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world.
Pelé began playing for Santos at age 15 and the Brazil national team at 16. During his international career, he won three FIFA World Cups: 1958, 1962 and 1970, being the only player ever to do so. Pelé is the all-time leading goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. At club level he is the record goalscorer for Santos, and led them to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores. Known for connecting the phrase “The Beautiful Game” with football, Pelé’s “electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals” made him a star around the world, and his teams toured internationally in order to take full advantage of his popularity. Since retiring in 1977, Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador for football and has made many acting and commercial ventures. In 2010, he was named the Honorary President of the New York Cosmos.
- Brazil national football team: All-time leading goalscorer: 77 goals (95 goals including unofficial friendlies).
- Santos: All-time leading goalscorer: 643 goals in 656 competitive games.
- Intercontinental Cup: All-time leading goalscorer: 7 goals
- World record number of hat-tricks: 92
- Guinness World Records: Most career goals (football): 1283 goals in 1363 games
- Guinness World Records: Most FIFA World Cup winners’ medals: three
- Guinness World Records: Youngest winner of a FIFA World Cup: 17 years and 249 days in 1958 FIFA World Cup
- Youngest goalscorer in the FIFA World Cup: 17 years and 239 days (Brazil v Wales 1958)
- Youngest player to score a hat-trick in the FIFA World Cup: 17 years and 244 days (Brazil v France 1958)
- Youngest player to play in a FIFA World Cup Final: 17 years and 249 days (Brazil v Sweden 1958)
- Youngest goalscorer in a FIFA World Cup Final: 17 years and 249 days (Brazil v Sweden 1958)
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