Biography of Pele: Pele Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline

Biography of Pele: Edson Arantes do Nascimento, aka Pele, is one of the best footballers in the history of football. All the best players of our time are invariably compared to the legendary Brazilian. Let’s talk about Pele’s path to fame and what the man who was called the “King of Football” managed to achieve.

Biography of Pele

Pele’s father was a football player, and the ex-player of the Brazilian national team gave the guy the path to the big football. The footballer was born on October 23, 1940 (according to some sources, October 21) in the city of Três Coraçoins, State of Minas Gerais. The Pele family lived in poverty, the boy had only football as his entertainment. Pele often had to play without shoes.

It is believed that the nickname Pele comes from the word “pelada”, which means “barefoot.” Although Edson Arantis do Nascimento himself does not remember the origin of his pseudonym.

Pele’s father was also a professional footballer, but due to injury, his career had to end early. Dondinho, that was the name of Pele’s father, went to work as an orderly but did not forget about football. It was he who taught his son the basic elements of football.

When Pele was 7 years old, he was accepted into the Bauru Athletic Club children’s football team. To some extent, the boy was lucky. The team was led by ex-Brazilian football player Valdemar de Brito. He personally advised Santos to pay attention to the talented pupil.

Pele as a child

With Pele in Santos, he achieved his first significant success. The Brazilian has scored over 1,000 goals for the club

Pele came to Santos in 1956. Already in September, the forward made his debut in the match against Corinthians. At that time, Pele was only 15 years old. Within a year, he became a solid base player. In his second season at Santos, Pele scored 41 goals in 38 official games. At the same time, the footballer received his first call to the Brazilian national team.

Pele won his first trophy with Santos in 1958. The team became the state champion. Pele scored 58 goals in his first championship season. The next trophy had to wait 2 years. In 1960, Santos became champions again, and Pele chalked up 33 goals. In addition, Santos won the Brazilian Cup, allowing the team to qualify for the Copa Libertadores.

In the Brazilian Cup, Pele scored 9 times and became the most productive player in the tournament. Winning the Brazilian Cup meant that Santos was formally the champion of the whole country, as it was the first nationwide Brazilian tournament.

Santos began winning the international arena only in 1962. The team won the Copa Libertadores and won the right to play in the Intercontinental Cup against Benfica, which included the legendary Eusebio. There were 2 matches in the Intercontinental Cup. In the first, Santos beat Benfica 3: 2, while Pele scored a double. The return leg finally confirmed Santos as the best team in the world. Pele scored a hat-trick, and his team defeated rivals 5: 2.

The following season Santos won the Copa Libertadores again and beat Milan in the Intercontinental Cup. Against Milan, Santos played 3 final matches at once (the first 2 ended with the same score of 4: 2 in favor of each team), in which Pele scored 4 times.

In total, with Santos, Pele won 6 Brazilian Championships, 10 State Championships, 4 Rio São Paulo Tournaments, 2 Copa Libertadores, 2 Intercontinental Cups, and 1 Intercontinental Super Cup.Pele in Santos

Pele’s performances for the Brazilian national team and victories in three world championships made her world-famous

Pele gained international fame thanks to his performances for the Brazilian national team. He was called up to the national team in 1957 when the striker was only 16 years old. And Pele made his debut at the 1958 World Championship. The striker came to the tournament injured, but still impressed the audience with his performance. In the semifinals, Pele scored a hat-trick against the French national team (5: 2), and in the final, he scored 2 goals to the Swedes (5: 2).

At the 1962 World Cup, Pele almost never played. Already in the 2nd match of the group stage, the striker was injured. But even without him, the Brazilian national team won gold medals. A similar thing happened at the 1966 World Cup. In 66, Pele was deliberately injured by the Portuguese, who attacked the player immediately when the ball was received. However, this time it was not possible to win the World Cup without Pele.


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Early successes in the national team allowed Pele to attract the attention of European giants. Real Madrid, Juventus, and Manchester United became interested in the forward. Pele was not allowed to go to Europe. To prevent the footballer from leaving the country, he was recognized as a “national treasure of Brazil”.

Pele managed to shine once again at the World Championships in 1970. The Brazilian played closer to midfield but still scored 4 goals, including the ball in the final against Italy (4: 1).

Pele played 92 matches for the Brazilian national team, in which he scored 77 goals. In the final stages of the World Championships, the forward scored 12 times. He still remains the top scorer in the history of the Brazilian national team.

Despite all the records, Pele never took his team to the field as captain.

Pele went to play in the USA to earn and develop football in North America

In 1974, Pele announced his retirement, but in 1975 he decided to resume it. The Brazilian had money problems as he trusted in unreliable financial advisors. At this moment, the proposal from “New York Cosmos” arrived very opportunely. Pele was called upon to popularize classic football in the United States. His salary at New York Cosmos was higher than that of any other athlete at the time.

Pele in New York Space

Pele became one of the first star footballers in the New York Cosmos. He spent 2 years in the team. In Pele’s last season at the club, legendary players Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto signed contracts with New York Cosmos. Together they made Kosmos the champion of the North American Football League.

With the arrival of Pele, attendance at football matches in the United States increased 10 times, and truly professional football appeared in the country.

In the United States, Pele completely retired. In a farewell match, Santos and New York Cosmos met. The forward played one half for each of the teams. 

Pele was married three times. One of his sons is serving a sentence in prison

Pele had three marriages. The legendary footballer was last married in 2016 to a Brazilian businesswoman of Japanese origin Marcia Sibeli Aoki.

There is a story that in his youth Pele had a relationship with the coach of the Santos youth team. In his autobiography, Pele called the story fiction and accused Maradona of spreading it. Pele thought that Maradona had come up with jealous gossip. One of Pele’s friends said: “Maradona was always very jealous of Pele. 

This feeling intensified after Argentine President Carlos Menem invited Pele to his country as a guest of honor – Pele was Menem’s favorite player. Maradona was angry that the Argentines could put Pele above Maradona himself. “

Pele has seven children, including two illegitimate children from different girls. The two sons of Pele followed in their father’s footsteps. The eldest son Edinho was a goalkeeper and even played for Santos for a while. However, his career was stopped by problems with the law. He first received a sentence for participating in street races in which a motorcyclist was killed.


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Then Edinho was accused of manslaughter. This charge was later dropped. In 2005, Pele’s son was charged in connection with drug traffickers, and he served another 6 months in prison. In 2014, Edinho received his most serious term. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison for money laundering related to drug trafficking. After the appeal, the term was reduced to 12 years and 10 months.

Pele and his son Edinho

Pele’s other son, Joshua, also began his career at Santos. However, he is now 24 years old and does not play at a professional level.

Pele dabbled in politics, advertising, music, and coaching. Now the legend has health problems

After completing his football career, Pele tried himself in many roles. At first, he trained teenage children, graduating in parallel from school and institute. As a result, Pele received his degree in economics.

The footballer actively enjoyed his popularity. Coffee was named in honor of Pele, and he also constantly advertised various goods: from toothpaste to cars. Pele even had a contract with Pepsi. But at the same time in advertising, he was always picky. Pele flatly refused to advertise cigarettes and alcohol, as he was afraid to set a bad example for children around the world.

Brazil legend Pele recovering after tumor operation

In the mid-90s, Pele’s popularity and the love of citizens allowed him to become the Minister of Sports. There are conflicting rumors about his work in the government. Some media reported that with his arrival there was less corruption in Brazilian football. Others believe that Pele covered many corruption schemes.

Pele dabbled in music by releasing several songs. The Brazilian has also played in numerous films. In most of them, Pele played himself. The last film about Pele was released in 2016 and was called “Pele: The Birth of a Legend.” The film tells about the formation of Pele as a legend of Brazilian football.

Pele also released several autobiographies. In each of them, he talks about himself as the best footballer in history. Even in his interviews, Pele always notes that he is the strongest player in the history of football.

A Brazilian once said: “There is only one king. Pele was the best. If you want to hear the truth, I will tell it: my parents closed production. There is only one Pele, this will never happen again. “

The famous striker also had attempted to become a coach. From 2006 to 2008, he was listed in the headquarters of Santos, but Pele did not achieve success in this field.

Pele was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. The Brazilian tried to promote a healthy lifestyle. Pele himself never had addictions. However, Pele has been experiencing health problems lately.

In February 2020, information appeared that the Brazilian could not move without assistance. Because of this, Pele does not want to appear in public. Previously, the legendary footballer has repeatedly appeared in the frame in a wheelchair. This is the Biography of Pele.


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