Pele Career Achievements: Pele Biography, Stats, and Awards

Pele Career Achievements: Pele is the undisputed No. 1 in the history of football. Despite the fact that the Brazilian ended his career in the distant 70s, his greatness is recognized by absolutely everyone.

Pele Career Achievements

Born 10/23/1940


  • Santos (1956-1974; 656 matches, 643 goals).
  • “New York Cosmos” (1975-1977; 64 games, 37 goals).
  • Brazil national team (1957-1971; 92 matches, 77 goals).

Team Achievements

  • World Champion 1958, 1962, 1970.
  • Champion of the Brazilian Cup 1961-1965.
  • Champion of Brazil (Copa Robertan) 1968.
  • Winner of the Rock Cup 1957, 1963.
  • Paulista League winner 1958, 1960-1962, 1964, 1965, 1967-1969, 1973.
  • Winner of the Rio Sao Paulo tournament 1959, 1963, 1964, 1966.
  • Winner of the Copa Libertadores 1962, 1963.
  • Winner of the Intercontinental Cup 1962, 1963.
  • Winner of the 1968 Intercontinental Champions Super Bowl.
  • 1977 NASL Champion.

Personal Achievements

  • IOC Athlete of the Century.
  • FIFA Player of the Century.
  • The only three-time world champion in football history.
  • 1973 South American Footballer of the Year.
  • The best player in the history of the Brazilian national team.
  • Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

From Street Football To Professional

Much in the fate of a person depends on the family. The rather talented but unsuccessful footballer Dondinho, who failed to rise to the top Brazilian division due to injury, passionately wished that the life of his little son, Pele, would be better than his own.

The boy selflessly loved to play football, often training on the nearest beach with his father, but, early accustomed to working and the understanding that nothing in life is easy, he worked on the street as a shoe shiner. That’s how Edson Arantes do Nascimento lived, polishing someone else’s shoes, chasing the ball on the wastelands of Bauru, and dreaming of a career as a pilot.

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Despite the fact that young Diko (the home nickname of the one who will be reverently called Pele in the future) was almost elusive and spent most of his time on the street, he still managed to get together to adequately play for the teenage team of the city, from where he was invited to the first professional club in his career.

It was then that the birth of what we now know as the King of Football, Pelé, took place. It is worth saying that this nickname is rather impartial because in Portuguese “Pele” means nothing more than “muff”.

It is difficult to find a person whose name would be so at odds with reality. But in relation to Pele, this nickname was always perceived as nothing more than a joke, especially since the young man progressed so quickly that already in 1956 when he was 16 years old, the leaders of the famous Santos club considered his transition an extremely profitable deal.

Public Property

And although Pele had to move to a strange city for himself and start an independent life, he began to justify his hopes. So much so that two years later he was called up under the banner of the main team of his country, in which, of course, the best of the most talented have always been selected. In Sweden, Brazilians conquered the world football title, and Pele became the youngest (17 years and 8 months) world champion.

The brilliant, extremely diverse, bold game of the young striker, who scored balls for different tastes and skillfully circled the most experienced opponent in tricks, fell in love with fans in many countries, and in Brazil, Pele was elevated to the status of an idol.

Adoration exceeded all conceivable limits: streets in cities were named after him, the government presented him with land and a car, and female fans from all over the country openly confessed their love and asked in letters to agree to the proposal to get married.

Many in his place would have caught the “star fever”, confident in their own exclusivity, but Pele did not seem to notice the general adoration – he just played football, trying to show all the best that he was capable of. 

He was a resourceful player: in order to tip the scales in his favor, he could even stick his head under the opponent’s arm and pretend that he was strangling him. With the artistry characteristic of Pele, the judges believed him unconditionally.

The best clubs of the Old World would not refuse to replenish their ranks with a Brazilian genius, but Real, Juventus, and Inter received a decisive refusal, despite huge financial promises – the people simply did not allow their idol to be released, although the owners ” Santos” and wanted to replenish their treasury. 

In order to prevent unrest and an explosion of discontent caused by the departure of an adored football player, the country’s leadership declared Pele a “public treasure” and banned his transfer to other clubs. Joao Havelange, president of the football federation, proudly declared: “Pele, like the Mona Lisa, has no price.”

And Pele, although he continued to be an illiterate boy, managed to publish a book with the telling title “I am Pele”, which became not only a real bestseller in Brazil, but also led to unexpected, but positive consequences: millions of his compatriots, young and old, only for

In order to read the creation of an idol, they began to study at schools. The Ministry of Education immediately awarded the football player with a gold medal for success in spreading literacy, which the officials themselves could not do for many years.

The young striker did not forget about his main duty – to score goals. So, in the 1959 season, having played 103 matches, Pele scored 126 times! His performance amazed everyone: both partners and rivals. 

The latter were frankly afraid of the quick-footed and cunning striker, losing the position to him in a matter of seconds, just staring at the phenomenal work of his legs and unexpected feints. Tough on the field, off it, he was friendly and never denied an admirer of talent a photo as a keepsake and a few kind words.

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For the first time becoming a world champion at almost 18 years old, Pele repeated this success four years later in Chile. The third time the title was submitted to him was in 1970 in Mexico. Thus, Pele became the only three-time world champion, although he took part in only two final matches (in 1962 he did not play in the final due to injury).

He showed himself brilliantly and during the time spent at Santos, almost every year the team won several trophies at once – it is not surprising that the best period in the history of the club coincided with Pele’s stay in it. In total, he played for Santos until 1974, scoring 1,088 goals in 1,114 games.

Man of The World

And then the great Brazilian decided to go to finish playing in the USA at the Cosmos Club. He was offered a record contract – $ 6 million, but at home, his departure was perceived very ambiguously: the star, even when it was waning, still attracted many fans of his talent, who still believed that the King should rule exclusively in his country. Pele himself explained his departure by the desire to popularize football because in the USA this sport was not very popular.

Pele’s voyage was a success: the attendance of matches in the New World increased nine times, largely due to the participation of the Brazilian virtuoso in them. In America, he said goodbye to football.

His farewell match took place in New York on October 1, 1977, it brought together two clubs for which Pele played – Cosmos and Santos. In the first half, the striker came out as part of the American team, in the second – the Brazilian team. 75,646 spectators came to meet the solemn and sad moment of Pele’s farewell to football, chanting “Stay!” in unison, when the striker announced his retirement from his professional career.

Part of life is gone, but people believed in him, which means that you need to live on. After leaving football, Pele realized that without education it was impossible to achieve any success in the future. He graduated from high school, then – the economics department of the university.

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After that, he became a graduate and began work on organizing a network of youth football camps, and then left to promote the game in the United States and received the title of UN Goodwill Ambassador. Pele participated in the conference on environmental protection. Once a boy from poor neighborhoods, he became a famous politician when the President of Brazil appointed him Minister of Sports.

Talent is Everything

Without a doubt, Pele is a multi-talented person: he acted in films, several films were released with his participation: “Jump to Victory”, “Main Miracle” and “Fatal Shot”; released two albums of bossa nova songs, wrote the novel World Cup Madness. It’s just that this person doesn’t like to sit idly by.

He successfully develops his business, despite several bankruptcies. People believe Pele: if he says that his coffee is the best, then it is so. He starred in commercials, believing that his name is already a fairly significant trademark. And it turns out he’s right. Actually, as always.

Even after retiring from football, awards continue to pour in on Pele: in 1999, the International Olympic Committee named him the athlete of the century, in 2000 he was recognized by FIFA as the best football player of the 20th century.

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Even the Queen of England recognized the talent and diligence of the Brazilian magician of the ball: in 1998, Pele was knighted in the Order of the British Empire, but he cannot bear the title “sir”, since he is not a subject of the English crown. And how symbolic it would be to say “Sir Pele” at the end of everything because the King of Football really deserves it.

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