Pele was born on 23rd October, 1940 in Mans Gerais, Brazil. Pele grew up in Bauru, Sao Paulo in utter poverty. He earned extra money by working as a servant in tea shops. He could not afford to buy a proper football so he would play with a sock stuffed with newspaper tied with a string or grapefruit.
He was trained by his father by a very young age to be a footballer. His father Dondhino was himself a former footballer and leading scorer for the club teams he played for.
In 1956, Pele joined professional club Santos FC. He was just 15 year old at that time. In the year 1957, Pele became the top scorer in the league. He was soon under the spotlight and was called up to the Brazil national team. Pele played in 1958 World Cup as a 17 year old.
He led his team Santos in breaking many barriers and taking them to many prestigious trophy triumphs. His electrifying play and hunger for spectacular goals made him a celebrated sportsman throughout the world.
Pele’s international career was a glorious one. He became the youngest player to score an international goal when he scored against Argentina on 7 July 1957 at the age 16 years and 9 months. In 1958, he became the youngest player to score a goal at the World Cup. He scored six goals in four matches including two goals in the final to help Brazil win the World Cup.
In the 1966 World Cup, inspite of boasting of the best stars in World football at that time, Brazil was knocked out in the first round itself which was a disappointment for the football fraternity as a whole. But Pele and and a new looking team dominated the 1970 World Cup with Pele being named the Player of the Tournament.
Pele reached the zenith in the football world by just performing day in and day out for the respective teams that he played for. He has also been part of three World cup winning squads. He has scored a total of 1281 goals in 1363 matches which is highest number of career goals scored in football. He has been nicknamed ‘The King of Football’, ‘The Black Pearl’ and the ‘The King Pele’ by his fans.
He has not only been one of the greatest athletes’ ever seen but also one of the most down to earth human beings. From playing with newspaper scraps to becoming the poster boy of World football is an amazing journey indeed.