Pelé is considered the greatest football player of all time. The Brazilian revolutionised the beautiful game with his creative and energetic style. The legend is now a global ambassador for the sport, promoting the game throughout the world. Here’s 21 interesting facts about Pelé you probably didn’t know.
1. Pelé’s real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimiento and he was born in Três Corações, Brazil.
2. During his career he scored 1,283 goals, 77 of which were for Brazil.
3. He became the youngest World Cup winner at the age of 17.
4. After being signed at 15 he scored four goals during his first game against FC Corinthians in 1956.
5. In 1995, Pelé was named the Minister of Sport in Brazil.
6. In 1999, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted Pelé the athlete of the century.
7. Pelé was given an honorary British Knighthood in 1997.
8. Pelé’s 1000th goal was a penalty after which the fans rushed onto the pitch.
9. 19 November is celebrated as Pelé Day at Santos to celebrate his 1000th goal.
10. The violent clashes between government and rebel troops during the civil war in Nigeria in 1967 had a temporary 48-hour ceasefire in 1967 so Pelé could be watched.
11. Pelé thinks that a penalty is a ‘cowardly way to score’.
12. The Times of London once said that Pelé was spelled G-O-D.
13. Pelé never beat his father’s record of scoring five headers in one game, although he did manage four.
14. Pelé is married to gospel singer Assíria Lemos Seixas.
15. In Brazil he is named Black Pearl (Pérola Negra).
16. In 1961, the Brazilian government declared Pelé a national treasure to stop him from being transferred out of the country.
17. Pelé couldn’t afford a football as a kid so often used a stuffed sock.
18. As a child he formed a team with friends and named them ‘the shoeless ones’.
19. He is the only person to been in three winning World Cup teams.
20. Pelé’s 100th World Cup goal was a header.
21. The star helped break the taboo of erectile dysfunction when he fronted an advertising campaign for Viagra in 2005.
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