Pelé is a retired professional footballer from Brazil who played as a forward for his country’s national football team. He is regarded as one of the greatest football players to ever play the sport.
Pelé began his footballing career by playing for Santos at age 15 and by the time he turned 16 he was already competing at the highest level for the Brazil national team. In his fist every international match which took place against Argentina at the Maracana, Pele scored in 2-1 victory, beoming the youngest ever to score for his country, he was 16 years and nine months old.
Playing his first World Cup in 1958, Pele arrived to the scene with a knee injury. In his first match at the biggest tournament, Pele gave an assist to Vava’s second goal. At 17 years and 249 days Pelé became the youngest player to play in a World Cup final match. He scored two goals in the final as Brazil beat Sweden 5–2. Following Pelé’s second goal, Swedish player Sigvard Parling later said, “When Pelé scored the fifth goal in that Final, I have to be honest and say I felt like applauding”. He finished the tournament with six goals in four matches played and was named best young player of the tournament
He went on to win two more FIFA World Cups for his country: 1962 and 1970. 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.
Since retiring in 1977, Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador. In 2010, the legendary footballer was named as the Honorary President of the New York Cosmos.
In Brazil, Pele is seen as a national hero for his accomplishments in football. He has also been an outspoken support of policies that improve the social conditions of the poor.
In 1999, Pele was voted as the 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.
Later, Pelé was elected Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. According to the IFFHS, Pelé is the most successful domestic league goal-scorer in football history scoring 650 goals in 694 League matches, and in total 1281 goals in 1363 games.