Pelé began playing for Santos at age 15 and the Brazil national team at 16.
During his international career, he won three FIFA World Cups: 1958, 1962 and 1970, the only player to do so.
He was nicknamed O Rei (The King) following the 1958 tournament.
Pelé is the joint-top goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. At the club level, he is Santos’ all-time top goalscorer with 643 goals in 659 games.
Pele, scored 1,281 goals in 1,363 games for club and country during his career, ended his playing days at New York Cosmos and retired from football in 1977.
A player who made the game look as simple as anything and inspired so many.
“Pele played football for 22 years, and in that time he did more to promote world friendship and fraternity than any other ambassador anywhere.”
“My name is Ronald Reagan, I’m the President of the United States of America. But you don’t need to introduce yourself, because everyone knows who Pele is.”
“Pele was one of the few who contradicted my theory: instead of 15 minutes of fame, he will have 15 centuries.”
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“The difficulty, the extraordinary, is not to score 1,000 goals like Pele – it’s to score one goal like Pele.”
Carlos Drummond de Andrade
“When I saw Pele play, it made me feel I should hang up my boots.”
“The greatest player in history was Di Stefano. I refuse to classify Pele as a player. He was above that.”
“Pele is the greatest player of all time. He reigned supreme for 20 years. All the others – Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini – rank beneath him. There’s no one to compare with Pele.”
“The moment the ball arrived at Pele’s feet, football transformed into poetry.”
Pier Paolo Pasolini
“Absolutely everybody wanted to shake his hand, to get a photo with him. Saying you had partied with Pele was the biggest badge of honour going.”
“To watch him play was to watch the delight of a child combined with the extraordinary grace of a man in full.”
“I sometimes feel as though football was invented for this magical player.”
“Pele was the most complete player.”
“In some countries they wanted to touch him, in some they wanted to kiss him. In others they even kissed the ground he walked on. I thought it was beautiful, just beautiful.”
“An artist, in my eyes, is someone who can lighten up a dark room. I have never and will never find the difference between the pass from Pele to Carlos Alberto in the final of the World Cup in 1970 and the poetry of the young Rimbaud. There is in each of these human manifestations an expression of beauty which touches us and gives us a feeling of eternity.”
“Muhammad Ali was waving to the crowd, blowing kisses, doing the Muhammad Ali thing. As soon as he walked into the locker room and saw Pele…he was like a star-struck child.”
“There’s Pele the man, and then Pele the player. And to play like Pele is to play like God.”
“I’m a Pele fan from way back when I was a kid, and then there was always this thing later about Pele and Maradona. I was young and impressionable as a kid but it was always Pele for me.”
Sir Alex Ferguson
“His great secret was improvisation. Those things he did were in one moment. He had an extraordinary perception of the game.”
“Pele was the only footballer who surpassed the boundaries of logic.”
“Malcolm Allison: “How do you spell Pele?” Pat Crerand: “Easy: G-O-D.””
British commentary team at Mexico 1970
Pele’s family confirmed he died on Thursday afternoon at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo Rest On Legend.