An Homage to Pelé

Pelé had one of the most distinguished careers in soccer history (better known as football in the rest of the world), with 3 World Cup wins to his name and over 1200 goals in his professional career. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or Pelé, as he is more commonly known, was born on October 23rd, 1940, in Brazil, a country that is fanatical about football. 

From a young age, he loved the sport. Born into poverty, his family couldn’t afford so much as a ball for him to practice with, so he made his own by stuffing crumbled-up newspapers into a sock. He was dedicated. 

He played for an assortment of local clubs, but his big break came when he went to Sao Paulo to play for Santos FC at the age of 15. Just two years later, he played for Brazil’s national team in the 1958 World Cup.  He scored six goals during the series, two of which happened in the final against Sweden. Brazil won that game 5-2 and thus the World Cup.

This was just the beginning of his journey. He went on to win two more world cups, and in 1962 the Brazilian government declared him a national treasure.   This honor, however, meant he could never play for European clubs, which is why he never won the Ballon d’Or.  The Ballon d’Or (or golden cup) is for an outstanding European footballer of the year, presented by the French news magazine France Football.  If he had played in Europe, it is accepted that he would hold the record for most Ballon d’Ors. 

Pelé set a new standard of play for all football players and athletes alike. His most notable records include scoring the most goals in a professional career, being the youngest player to ever score in a World Cup, and being the youngest player to score a hat trick in a World Cup.

The most notable thing about his career was his dedication. He never took sides, as football was his only focus. Even during the Nigerian civil war, the opposing faction held a 48-hour ceasefire to watch Pelé play. He proved the power of football to unite people and nations alike. He dedicated his life to the beautiful game of football.