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Edison "Edson" Arantes do Nascimento[1][6] KBE (born 21 or 23 October 1940[1]), best known by his nickname Pelé (Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation: [peˈlɛ], usual English pronunciation: /ˈpɛleɪ/) is a retired Brazilian footballer. He is widely regarded among football experts and former players as the greatest football player of all time.[7][8][9][10][11][12] [13][14][15][16]In 1999, he was voted as the Football Player of the Century by the IFFHS International Federation of Football History and Statistics. In the same year French weekly magazine France-Football consulted their former "Ballon D'Or" winners to elect the Football Player of the Century. Pelé came in first position. [17] In his career he scored 760 official goals, 541 in league championships, making him the top scorer of all time. In total Pelé scored 1281 goals in 1363 games.[18]

In his native Brazil, Pelé is hailed as a national hero. He is known for his accomplishments and contributions to the game of football.[19] He is also acknowledged for his vocal support of policies to improve the social conditions of the poor (when he scored his 1,000th goal he dedicated it to the poor children of Brazil).[20] During his career, he became known as "The King of Football" (O Rei do Futebol), "The King Pelé" (O Rei Pelé) or simply "The King" (O Rei).[21]

Spotted by football star Waldemar de Brito,[22] Pelé began playing for Santos at 15 and his national team at 16, and won his first World Cup at 17. Despite numerous offers from European clubs, the economic conditions and Brazilian football regulations at the time benefited Santos, thus enabling them to keep Pelé for almost two decades until 1974. With Pelé within their ranks, Santos reach their zenith by winning the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores, the most prestigious club competition in South American football.[23] Pelé played as an inside second forward, also known as a playmaker. Pelé's technique and natural athleticism have been universally praised and during his playing years he was renowned for his excellent dribbling and passing, his pace, powerful shot, exceptional heading ability, and prolific goalscoring.

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