Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known mononymously by his nickname Pelé, was a Brazilian professional footballer who played as a forward. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and labelled “the greatest” by FIFA, he was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century. In 1999, he was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee.
In 2000, Pelé was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century. His 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which includes friendlies, is recognised as a Guinness World Record. 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 was Santos’ all-time top goalscorer with 643 goals in 659 games. In a golden era for Santos, he led the club to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores, and to the 1962 and 1963 Intercontinental Cup.
Credited with connecting the phrase “The Beautiful Game” with football, Pelé’s “electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals” made him a star around the world, and his teams toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity. During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world. After retiring in 1977, Pelé was a worldwide ambassador for football and made many acting and commercial ventures. In 2010, he was named the honorary president of the New York Cosmos.
Averaging almost a goal per game throughout his career, Pelé was adept at striking the ball with either foot in addition to anticipating his opponents’ movements on the field. While predominantly a striker, he could also drop deep and take on a playmaking role, providing assists with his vision and passing ability, and he would also use his dribbling skills to go past opponents.
In Brazil, he was hailed as a national hero for his accomplishments in football and for his outspoken support of policies that improve the social conditions of the poor. His emergence at the 1958 World Cup, where he became a black global sporting star, was a source of inspiration. Throughout his career and in his retirement, Pelé received numerous individual and team awards for his performance in the field, his record-breaking achievements, and his legacy in the sport.
Some of the best quotes from Pelé are listed below.
- Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. ~ Pele
- Success isn’t determined by how many times you win, but by how you play the week after you lose. ~ Pele
- Football is the only sport where you put people together, it doesn’t matter if you are rich, or poor, or black, or white. It is one nation. This is the beauty of football. ~ Pele
- There is always someone out there getting better than you by training harder than you. ~ Pele
- A team is not made up of isolated individuals. Always stay in the game. Don’t be passive. Football is a team game. No one plays alone. Success depends on your whole team being a single unit. ~ Pele
- The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning. ~ Pele
- A lot of people, when a guy scores a lot of goals, think, ‘He’s a great player’, because a goal is very important, but a great player is a player who can do everything on the field. He can do assists, encourage his colleagues, give them confidence to go forward. It is someone who, when a team does not do well, becomes one of the leaders. ~ Pele
- Everything is practice. ~ Pele
- Great teams are not made up of many well-rounded players. Great teams are made up of a variety of players, each having their own strengths. ~ Pele
- The head talks to the heart and the heart talks to the feet. ~ Pele
- I was born to play football, just like Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint. ~ Pele Quotes
- No individual can win a game by himself.
- Football is like a religion to me. I worship the ball, and I treat it like a god. Too many players think of a football as something to kick. They should be taught to caress it and to treat it like a precious gem. ~ Pele
- I think the kids always they look forward to be always the big stars. Not only football, any profession. They want to be the best, singer, they want to be the best political, only the stars. But I think sometimes the life give you opportunity, and long to be a big star, but you don’t need to be a big star, you need to be beautiful, excellent man. Human being. This is the first. ~ Pele
- Enthusiasm is everything. It must be taut and vibrating like a guitar string. ~ Pele
- If you don’t give education to people, it is easy to manipulate them. ~ Pele
- When you control the ball you control the score ~ Pele
- The World Cup is a very important way to measure the good players and the great ones. It is a test of a great player. ~ Pele
- It was with a homosexual, I was barely 14 years old. But let’s be fair, I wasn’t the only one who did it. He was a man in Bauru that all our team visited. ~ Pele
- I always had a philosophy which I got from my father. He used to say, ‘Listen. God gave to you the gift to play football. This is your gift from God. If you take care of your health, if you are in good shape all the time, with your gift from God no one will stop you, but you must be prepared.’ ~ Pele
- If you ever want to be a decent player, you have to be able to use both feet without stopping to think about it. ~ Pele
- Nelson Mandela was one of the most influential people in my life. He was my hero, my friend, and also a companion to me in our fight for the people and for world peace. Let us all continue his legacy with purpose and passion. ~ Pele
- Love is more important than what we can take…Please say with me three times-Love! Love! Love! ~ Pele
- A penalty is a cowardly way to score. ~ Pele
- Brazil eats, sleeps and drinks football. It lives football! ~ Pele
- I played futsal growing up in Baurd. In futsal you need to think quick and play quick so its easier for you when you move to normal football. ~ Pele Quotes
- No doubt, I am earning more money with my endorsements than I ever earned playing soccer.
- Most important is be a good man. ~ Pele
- Always when I come to the field, I try to do my best for other people. ~ Pele
- When you play against dirty players or very tough players, it’s easy to escape because you know what they’re going to do. But when the player is tough but intelligent, it’s much more difficult. ~ Pele
- I don’t think I’m a very good businessman. I act too much with my heart. ~ Pele
- If I pass away one day, I am happy because I tried to do my best. My sport allowed me to do so much because it’s the biggest sport in the world. ~ Pele
- Sport is something that is very inspirational for young people. ~ Pele
- How much soccer training is it needed to become a top player? It depends on the efficiency of your training routine. Setting long and short-term goals is a must. When planning out a soccer training regime, one must strive for a realistic and consistent program that will diminish specific weaknesses. Broad versatility of soccer skills is the Nirvana of every dedicated trainee. ~ Pele
- I treat everybody the same. You know I love to be with people: the youngsters. ~ Pele
- I represent Brazil all over the world. Wherever I go I have to do my best, to not disappoint the Brazilian people. And that I’ve done. ~ Pele
- When I was playing, they said soccer was a man’s world and women should remain on the sidelines, all I can say is I’m glad I never had to go up against Mia Hamm ~ Pele
- I’ve come to accept that the life of a frontrunner is a hard one, that he will suffer more injuries than most men and that many of these injuries will not be accidental. ~ Pele
- George Best was the greatest player in the world. ~ Pele
- Yes, I have a lot of business interests. But I don’t work for just anyone, and I choose the companies very carefully. ~ Pele
- You must respect people and work hard to be in shape. And I used to train very hard. When the others players went to the beach after training, I was there kicking the ball. ~ Pele
- I want to do my best to make the people happy. I play with my heart for the sport. ~ Pele
- Everything on earth is a game. A passing thing. We all end up dead. We all end up the same, don’t we? ~ Pele
- Wherever you go, there are three icons that everyone knows: Jesus Christ, Pele, and Coca-Cola. ~ Pele
- Ronaldo has come through for the past two or three years and is the best in Europe. I think at the moment no doubt Ronaldo is the best player. ~ Pele