Brazilian soccer legend Pele, who died on Thursday at the age of 82, was widely regarded as soccer’s greatest player.

Pelé was the most beloved footballer of his generation or any other, the eternal master of the beautiful game.

Here are 13 things to know about Pelé:

1. Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in October 1940, Pele played his first game for Santos as a 15-year-old in 1956.

2. Pelé won the World Cup with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970. His sumptuous array of skills made him the epitome of his country’s golden age of soccer.

3. When Pelé finally retired in 1977, he had scored more than 1,000 goals.

4. Pelé scored 77 for Brazil, a mark matched only at the recent World Cup by Neymar.

5. Pelé’s impact on his sport went far beyond the court, as he also became a lucrative phenomenon, lending his name to sportswear, credit cards and watches among a variety of merchandise.

6. Pelé earned his national team call-up in 1957, scoring on his debut against Argentina. In 1958, he was selected for the World Cup in Sweden.

7. At just 17 years old, Pelé had become the youngest World Cup winner in history. The next two tournaments, however, were to be unhappy experiences.

8. Twenty-one years old at the time of the 1962 World Cup in Chile, an older and stronger Pele was expected to conquer the tournament.

9. Although he would continue to play club soccer for his beloved Santos and later for the New York Cosmos, Pelé retired from international service in 1971, making an emotional farewell in front of 180,000 fans at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

10. In 1977, he inspired New York to the national title in his final season with the club that featured great teammates Franz Beckenbauer, Italian striker Giorgio Chinaglia and former Brazil captain Carlos Alberto.

11. He appeared in the 1981 film, Escape to Victory, about Allied POWs during World War II, alongside the likes of Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, and Moore.

12. Between 1995 and 1998, he was even Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister of Sports, while also regularly appearing in public as an ambassador for numerous commercial brands.

13. He got married for the third time in 2016, marrying Marcia Aoki.

AFP