top of page


(Edson Arantes do Nascimento)

1940 – 2022

Brazilian Soccer Player, 5’ 8’’, 159 pounds

Sports Ranking 3rd of 12

Commemorating the 1,000th goal scored by Pele. Brazilian stamp from 1969.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento is widely acknowledged as the greatest soccer player ever and he helped make it the world’s most popular sport. Edson has been known simply as Pelé throughout his career as a soccer player. He acquired this nickname at an early age from his skill at pedala, a simple version of soccer. His first name, Edson, came from Thomas Edison because Pelé was born the year electric light came to his hometown, Três Corações. A professional by age 15, Pelé became the only player to participate in four World Cups and to win three (1958, 1962, 1970). He scored a total of 1,283 goals in his career, most of it spent with Brazil’s Santos club. He played his last three seasons (1975-77), with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.

As a recognition of Pele's greatness, prestige and influence two of the greatest futbol players to follow Pele:  Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, both of Argentina, wore Pele's number 10 on their uniforms throughout all (Maradona) or most (Messi) of their careers.

Key Reference: By Pelé, Pelé:  The Autobiography, 1977; Why Soccer Matters, 2014.

bottom of page