One of the greatest players of all-time and arguably the greatest goal-scorer of ever, Pele celebrates his 79th birthday on October 23, 2019 (Wednesday). The London Times once declared the spelling of Pele as “G-O-D.” He has scored over 1000 career goals and is still revered as one of football’s most devastating forwards. Pele was born on this day in 1940 in the city of Tres Coracoes, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The world today knows him as “Pele” but that never his name. The Brazilian great’s original name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento and he named after the great American inventor Thomas Edison. To this day, the validation of where the name “Pele” came from is unknown to the footballer as well as his parents but named aside, we celebrate the birthday of one of football’s biggest giants.
He was born to former Fluminense forward Dondinho and Celeste Arantes. Pele’s original name was inspired from great American inventor Thomas Edison but his parents removed the letter “i” from Edison and named him Edson. Pele made his professional football debut for Santos on September 7, 1956, at the age of 15 against rivals Corinthians and scored four times as Santos ran out comfortable 7-1 winners. Pele went to play over 600 club games for Santos in a distinguished 22-year long career. On his Birthday, take a look at some interesting facts about football legend Pele. Happy Birthday Pele!
In 1956 former Brazilian forward Waldemar de Brito took a 15-year-old Pele to Santos club after discovering him as a talented youngster during his coaching stint with the Bauru Athletic Club Juniors – of which Pele was the captain. The young forward – still awaiting his legacy – impressed Santos coach Lula and that is when Brito told the club members what went to become one of the greatest chance prophecies ever made in the history of football. “He (Pele) will become the greatest footballer player in the world,” said Brito – a prophecy that passed the test of time.
A War Halted, Truce Called to Watch Pele Play
In 1967, a state in the West African region of Region declared independence leading to war with Nigeria, to which it earlier belonged. The state – known as Biafra – broke from the head state Nigeria and declared itself as an independent nation leading to a long-standing war with Nigeria, called the Biafra war. In the same year, Pele was travelling to the war-torn region to play an exhibition football match in Lagos. And eager to watch the legendary footballer play right before their eyes, both the federal and rebel troops agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire to watch Brazilian play.
An Entire Match Stopped to Celebrate Pele’s Landmark Goal
On November 19, 1969, a club game in Brazil – involving Santos – had to be stopped after Pele had scored his 1000th career goal. Crowds raced into the pitch to mob the Brazilian star after he completed another milestone and the game was stopped for at least half an hour before resuming. The Day – till date – is celebrated as “Pele Day” in Santos.
When Pele Promoted Puma Brand Mid-Match in 1970 World Cup
Although unintentionally, Pele once promoted Puma boots during a match at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Just as the referee was about to blow the kick-off whistle during a World Cup match, Pele asked the referee to stop and gestured towards his boots to say that he had to tie his shoelaces. The camera moved with him and as Pele sat down to tie his laces, the camera panned on the new Puma shoe and in a whisker boosted the Puma boot sales in the market.
A Mispronunciation That Gave the World a Legendary Football Name
There is no absolute information on how the former Brazilian footballer got his name “Pele”. Some theory stats that Edson was named Pele by his parents. But the one theory that comes closest to explaining the Pele name. He received the nickname “Pele” during his school days after he mispronounced the name of his favourite footballer Bile. Bile played as a goalkeeper for Vasco da Gama. Pele pronounced the name as “Pile” and therefore gave him the surname Pele.
Pele scored a total of 1033 career goals from 1120 matches, making him the forward to have smashed the most number off goals. He was declared the “National Treasure” by the Brazil president in 1961. Pele was declared the “National Treasure” in 1961 by the then Brazil president Janio Quadros.