The Life of a Soccer Legend
Pele was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on Oct. 23, 1940, in Tres Coracoes, Brazil. Growing up playing soccer in the streets of his hometown, he demonstrated remarkable talent, and at age 15 he tried out and became a player for the Brazilian Santos professional soccer club.<br><br>
Pele made his international debut at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, where he scored three goals in a 5-2 semifinal win over France. In this image, 17-year-old Pele jokes with fans at a World Cup event, on June, 1958.
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Pele, wearing his Santos jersey, smiles before playing a friendly soccer match with his club against the French club Racing, June 13, 1961 in Paris.
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Pele plays with a photographer's camera during a national team training session in Serra Negra, Brazil, April 25, 1962.
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Pele, center, kicks to score against Paraguay during a 1970 World Cup qualifying match on Aug. 31, 1969, in Rio de Janeiro.
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Pele stands by a ball display celebrating his 1,000th professional goal, on Dec. 14, 1969. The landmark goal was scored during a game against Vasco da Gama at the Maracana Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, Nov. 19, 1969.
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Pele is carried around the stadium by fans after Brazil's 4-1 World Cup victory over Italy at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, June 21, 1970.
Pele holds up the Jules Rimet World Cup as he parades down the Champs-Elysees, on March 30, 1971, in Paris. He visited France with his Santos club to play a friendly match against a selection of players from Marseille and St. Etienne.
Pele announced his official retirement from soccer in 1974. However, he decided to continue playing by joining the North American Soccer League's New York Cosmos, playing for them until 1977.
Pele holds an American flag before a match against the Dallas Tornados, June 15, 1975, at Downing Stadium in New York City.
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Pele juggles a soccer ball, sharing pointers with President Gerald Ford during a visit to the White House in Washington, D.C., June 28, 1975.
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New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, New York Cosmos soccer player Pele and designer Richard Barry attend a promotional event at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, Aug. 5, 1975.
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Pele permanently retired from pro soccer in 1977. His last game was an exhibition between the Cosmos and Santos at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Oct. 1, 1977. He competed for both sides, playing the first half for the Cosmos and the second for Santos.
Pele continued to be a popular public figure after his retirement, pictured here during a visit to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., April 7, 1978.
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Pele married his first wife, Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi, in 1966. Their daughter, Jennifer Cholby Nascimento, was born in New York in June, 1978.
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Pele was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador on April 19, 1994, becoming the first athlete to be given that distinction. In this image, Federico Mayor, director general of UNESCO, shakes hands with Pele after the appointment ceremony in Paris.
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After his retirement, Pele became a public advocate for football and sports in general. In 1992, he was appointed a U.N. ambassador for ecology and the environment. He is seen in this 1999 image at a press conference alongside United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
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Pele was named FIFA's "Player of the Century" in 1999, along with Diego Maradona of Argentina.<br><br>
In this photo, Maradona, left, Pele, center, and France's Michel Platini shake hands during Platini's jubilee at Nancy stadium, in France, May 23, 1998.
Pele kisses former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, July 17, 2007.
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Pele and David Beckham attend the MLS W.O.R.K.S. U.S. Soccer Foundation Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City, March 19, 2008.
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Brazil's Dani Alves, Argentina's Lionel Messi, Pele and Brazil's Neymar stand together after Messi was named the 2011 world soccer player of the year at the FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich, Jan. 9, 2012.
Pele poses during a visit to Vila Belmiro Stadium in Santos, Brazil, May 17, 2014.
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During his professional career, Pele scored over 1,000 goals. He is considered one of the most gifted soccer players of his generation, a dedicated philanthropist and an athlete who continued to use his fame and prestige to promote goodwill and sportsmanship.
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