Pele, One Word Is All You Need

By Kid Kelly


The name Edson Arantes do Nascimento doesn’t mean much to the average person only because he’s universally known as Pele, one of the greatest soccer players to ever play the game. The beloved ambidextrous player and clinical finisher was skilled at every aspect of the game but there’s more to him than just soccer.

His legend continues to grow as more people become aware of his rare talent after setting multiple records for his club, the league, and individually. Starting his career for Santos in 1956, Pele stayed loyal for his team by never leaving until his 1975 move the New York Cosmos. He made 638 recorded appearances for Santos, along with 619 goals, where he set the top scoring record for his team. Pele is also the only player to be on a team to win 3 World Cups.

Pele, One Word

Pele with the NY Cosmos


But he didn’t just make impacts on his team, Pele currently holds multiple world records such as Most FIFA World Winner Medals, and Career Goals (1,283 in 1,363 games). In the FIFA World Cup he also continues to be the youngest scorer at 17 years and 239 days (Brazil vs France 1958), hat trick at 17 years and 244 days (Brazil vs France 1958), to participate in the final match and score in the finals at 17 years and 249 days (Brazil vs. Sweden 1958).

Pele, One Word…

One of the most impressive things about Pele outside of the soccer is that he has actually been knighted. Yes, in 1997 he received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. On top of that he was also knighted by the Order of Rio Branco, and the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. So technically he should be addressed as Sir Pele by his fans but hopefully he’ll cut them some slack.

Nowadays Pele focuses most of his energy in the entertainment industry. In a recent interview with CNN, the former player admitted that if he didn’t play soccer he would most likely have composed music. This is an aspect of his life that is often overshadowed because his achievements on the field far outweigh the minor film work that he has done. With the upcoming documentary, “Pele: Birth of a Legend,” fans will be able to see his struggle as a young boy growing up with hardships and eventually fulfill his soccer destiny but won’t be able to see the work that he has accomplished afterwards.

Pele, One Word…

Television wise, Pele starred in a 1969 telenovela called, “Os Estranhos,” which was meant to create interest in the Apollo mission. In the 1991 film, “Escape to Victory,” Pele appeared alongside Sylvestor Stallone, Michael Caine, and other players from the 60’s and 70’s. A World War II era film about a football match between the Allied prisoners and the German team grossed about $27 million dollars in the box office and was only reviewed by 6 critics. Despite receiving positive attention from the few people who actually watched the film, it never rocketed Pele to fame in the entertainment industry. Throughout 1971 and 1989 Pele starred in multiple Brazillian films such as “Os Trapalhoes e o Rei do Futebol,” but after that Pele would not be given the opportunity to act again until a cameo in the 2001 film, “Mike BAssett: England Manager”. Thankfully from 1959 to 2015 he has managed to continue making appearances in video games, sports and talks shows as himself.

Pele, One Word

Yet his crowning achievement has to be composing the music for the 1977 documentary, “Pele.” Pele has been a huge fan of music his life, admitting to his love of the guitar and his interest in the violin. Recently he admitted to even writing songs for musicians such as Eliz Regina and Jair Rodrigues. Hopefully he is able to release an album to the public so that his music can be appreciated by his fans.

While his skill in music may surprise some it probably comes as no surprise to fellow soccer players or athletes who usually partake in activities which require great rhythm. Watching Pele play could often be compared to a beautiful ballet because of the way he danced with the ball, making very calculated rhythmic movements that defenders could not pick up on.

Pele, One Word…

Probably most notable area of Pelé’s life, since football, is his ambassadorial work. In 1992, he was appointed a UN ambassador for ecology and the environment.  In 1995, he was also awarded Brazil’s Gold Medal for outstanding services to the sport. In 2012, Pelé was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh for ” contribution to humanitarian and environmental causes, as well as his sporting achievements”.

Pelé was an attendee at the 2012 Olympic hunger summit hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. It was part of a series of international efforts which have sought to respond to the return of hunger as a high-profile global issue.

But Pele’s first loyalty remains to his country Brazil and now he is able to spend his time happily retired there. But based off his 2002 stint as the spokesperson for Pfizer’s Viagra, I have the feeling he isn’t spending all his time relaxing on the beach.

Pele, One Word…

Have some fun and watch his Top 10 Best Goals…


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