Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé was Brazil’s soccer superstar and one of the greatest footballers ever. He was fantastic, fabulous and friendly – even the man’s name was fun to say.
Pelé scored 1,090 goals in 1,114 games for his Brazilian club, Santos. He first made an appearance in a good Brazilian team at the age of 16 in 1957. The following year he scored two goals in the World Cup final when Brazil beat Sweden.
He even did a film with Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine and is probably still the best-known soccer player in the history of the game.
In 1975, Pelé came out of retirement to play for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, thanks to a three-year $7 Million contract that made him the world’s highest-paid team athlete.
Cosmos executives hoped that his presence would help boost the sport’s popularity in America. He retired on 1 October 1977, after an exhibition match between Santos and the Cosmos in Giants Stadium, New York.
Pelé had surgery to remove a tumour from his colon in September 2021 at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo after the tumour was detected in routine tests. He was readmitted to hospital in late November 2022.
He died at the hospital from multiple organ failure on 29 December 2022 at the age of 82.