Here are key dates in the life of soccer legend Pelé, who died at 82 in Sao Paulo on Thursday:

October 23, 1940:Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento into a modest family in Minas Gerais, north of Rio de Jaineiro. His father was a passionate amateur soccer player.


The name Pele came about when the three-year-old was rooting for a soccer friend of his father’s named Bile. Unable to pronounce the name, Pele came out in his place and the name stuck for the rest of his life.

September 7, 1956:

Pelé played his first game for the Brazilian club Santos, where he would remain for 18 years.

July 7, 1957:

At just 16 years and 9 months old, Pelé played for Brazil in a Copa América match against Argentina at the Maracana Stadium where he would score the first of his 77 goals in his international career.

June 29, 1958:

Pelé rises to worldwide fame, scoring twice in the World Cup final in Brazil’s 5-2 win over hosts Sweden. To this day he remains the youngest man to play in a final and of course the youngest man to score in one.


After four seasons of triumphs with Santos, he played a second World Cup in Chile. The injury saw him watch much of the tournament from the bench while his compatriot Garrincha set off the fireworks in another title triumph.


A third World Cup, but Pele was seriously fouled by opposing teams when Brazil fell in the first round.

November 19, 1969:

Pelé scores his 1,000th goal by converting a Santos penalty against Vasco de Gama. The game was stopped for 20 minutes while a lap of honor ran around the stadium.

June 21, 1970:

Pelé leads Brazil to its third World Cup and remains the only player to have won three. His play and his goals were those of a man in his heyday with his header in a 4-1 win over Italy in the final in one of football’s most iconic moments.

July 18, 1971:

Pelé plays his last match for Brazil at just 30 years old in a 2-2 draw with Yugoslavia at the Maracana Stadium.

June 10, 1975:

Pelé, 34, joins the New York Cosmos and helps launch the ‘soccer’ revolution in the United States.

October 1, 1977:

In the last game of his career, Pelé played the first half for Cosmos and the second half for Santos at Giants Stadium in New York. FIFA statistics say it all: 1,363 matches and 1,281 goals.


Pelé was appointed Brazil’s Minister of Sports, a position that at the time had never been held by a black man.


He was honored as the Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. A year later, FIFA honored him with the Footballer of the Century award.

December 29, 2022:

Pelé dies at the age of 82.


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