10 interesting facts about Pelé that you probably didn't know
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The man, the myth, the legend.
Even if you weren’t born when Pelé last laced up a football boot in anger, you know who he is. The greatest footballer of all time may be retired for 40 years but his exploits live on today.
Everyone's seen the goals. We’ve watched the black and white footage of a teenager tearing apart the best defenders in the world. And we’ve also seen the blurry technicolour footage of a player at the height of his powers, leading one of the greatest football teams of all time to another World Cup.
We took a closer look at the Brazilian star's career to bring you these lesser-known facts about Pelé.
He’s named after Thomas Edison
Pelé was named after the inventor of the lightbulb, Thomas Edison. The young Edson “Pelé” Arantes do Nascimento certainly showed plenty of invention in his career and lit up many a football pitch with his skills.
A promise to his father
When Brazil lost the World Cup final to Uruguay in 1950, Pelé saw his father crying. “Don’t worry,” he told him. “One day I’ll win it.” Now that’s confidence!
He scored four goals on his debut
Pelé signed for Santos at the tender age of 15 and proceeded to score four goals on his debut against FC Corinthians. That's one way to reward the scout's faith.
Goals, goals, goals
The Brazil and Santos star wasn’t someone who was happy scoring just one goal. He scored 92 hat tricks, four goals on 31 occasions, five goals on six occasions and he once scored eight in a single match. If only Fantasy Football was around in those days.
He’s the only player to win three World Cups
Pelé is the only footballer to have been on three World Cup winning teams. Coincidence? We think not.
He’s a national treasure
No really - he's literally a national treasure. The Brazilian government declared him one in 1961 to prevent foreign football clubs from taking him out of the country.
What’s in a name?
Pelé got his nickname after his mispronunciation of the name of the Brazilian goalkeeper, Bilé, as Pelé. One of his classmates started to call him “Pelé” to tease him and the name stuck. We’re pretty sure his classmate hasn’t won three World Cups so it’s safe to say that Pelé had the last laugh.
19 November is Pelé Day
Pelé scored his 1000th goal on 19 November 1969, causing the day to be simply known as Pelé Day in Santos. We wouldn’t begrudge the legend a day of his own, in fairness.
His father was a footballer
His father was also a footballer nicknamed Dondinho, whose claim to fame was scoring five headed goals in a match. Pelé came close with four headed goals against Botafogo but his father managed at least one footballing feat that his son couldn’t emulate.
From the pitch to the government
Pelé served as Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister of Sport between 1995 and 1998. He also served as a United Nations ambassador for Ecology and the Environment. We’re not sure what his qualifications were but we’d give him the job without a second thought. He is Pelé, after all.
Now that you know some of the more interesting facts about Pelé, how would you like to win a chance for you and two friends to meet and train with him in Barcelona?
Play like Pelé and win! Send a photo or video of you recreating one of Pelé’s iconic kicks and you could score yourself a trip to Barcelona to train with the legend himself. See the Snickers Facebook page for more information. T&C’s apply.
Brought to you by Snickers.