45. Pelé

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or better known as Pelè was born October 23rd 1940. He went on to become perhaps the best player of all time. He made his senior debut for Santos in 1956, a month before his 16th birthday and ten months later he played for Brazil against Argentina. Pelè missed the first two matches of the 1958 World Cup, before making his debut against Russia. His first World Cup goal came in the 1-0 quarter -final win over Wales and he scored a hat-trick in the semifinal against France and two more in the final over host nation Sweden. At 17, Pelé became the youngest ever winner of the World Cup.

Brazil defended the title four years later in Chile, but Pelé was injured early on and missed most of the tournament. Injuries also plagued him in 1966 as Brazil were eliminated already in the first round, but in 1970 he was back on top of his game leading Brazil to a record third title. Pelé was excellent and partnered by Rivelino, Jairzinho and Tostao, Brazil formed perhaps the best team ever.

Scoring goals was Pelè's trademark, but he was also a clever, quick-thinking player who could create goals for others. He scored a remarkable 77 goals for Brazil in 92 appearances, and various sources suggest that he netted 1281 in 1363 senior games overall. He played his final game for Santos in 1974, but was persuaded out of retirement the following year when he joined NASL club, New York Cosmos in a $4.000.000 deal. He played his last game for Cosmos in 1977 in front of 75.646 fans.

Pelé has achieved more than any other player in the World Cup history. Surprisingly he hasn't been topscorer in any of the four World Cups he played in, but he is on third place of the all-time top scorers table with his 12 goals. His proudest record must be the fact that he is the only player who has won three World Cups.

Legendary Football Players - Pelé

Brazil's Pele
Brazil's Pelé
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