Pele is one of the most well-known and celebrated figures in soccer history. He is an icon to many, both on and off the pitch. His legendary career spanned more than two decades and he won numerous championships with Santos FC and Brazil. Here are some lesser known facts about this professional footballing legend:
1. Pele was born as Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Minas Gerais, Brazil, but his father changed his name to ‘Pele’ when he was a young boy.
2. Just after turning 17 years old, Pele made his senior debut for Santos FC against Corinthians Santo Andre on 7 September 1956 – becoming the youngest ever player in the club’s history at that time.
3. Pele is the only player to have won three World Cup titles (1958, 1962 and 1970). He also holds the record for most goals scored in a single World Cup tournament – 12 in 1958.
4. In 1961 Pele became the first athlete in any sport to earn one million dollars when he joined Santos Futebol Clube as a professional footballer.
5. During his career, Pele was known for his incredible flair on the pitch and ability to score spectacular goals from difficult angles or distances using a variety of techniques, such as bicycle kicks and headers.
6. After retiring from professional football, Pele remained involved with the sport – becoming an ambassador for FIFA and the United Nations, as well as a global spokesperson for various charities.
7. Pele was named the ‘Athlete of the Century’ by the International Olympic Committee in 1999 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players ever to have graced a football pitch.
8. In 1997, he was awarded Brazilian citizenship – making him an honorary citizen of Brazil.
9. To show his appreciation for his hometown, Pele opened a museum in Santos dedicated to himself and his career called Museu Pelé – which is now one of the most visited museums in Brazil.
10. In 1993, Pele became the first living person to be inducted into FIFA’s Hall of Fame – cementing his legacy in the record books forever.
This list of secrets about Pele proves that he was much more than just a footballer – he continues to make an impact on and off the field, even today. For his fans around the world, his name will always be synonymous with soccer greatness.