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Biographies - Pele
Image Source: Pele photo by "Savaman" from São Paulo, Brasil
Born: October 23, 1940
Brazilian soccer player who won three World Cup medals and broke many records, regarded by many as one of the all-time greatest soccer players. He was a member of the Brazilian national team from 1956-1971.


Pel� began his football career at Santos Futebol Clube, an industrial and port town in S�o Paulo State in eastern Brazil, at the age of 15. At 16 he became the top scorer in the league and a regular in the Brazil national squad. While at Santos, Pel� won 9 state championships, 6 championships, 2 Libertadores Cups (South American Cup) and 2 Intercontinental Cups, aided by players such as Pepe and Coutinho.

In the Football World Cup 1958, Pel� became the youngest ever World Cup winner in Sweden at 17 (uncapped before the world cup), scoring two goals in the final as Brazil beat Sweden 5�2 in Stockholm. [1] He played in three more Brazil World Cup teams in 1962, 1966 and 1970, two of which Brazil won (1962 and 1970) although his contributions were limited in the 1962 and 1966 campaigns because of injuries inflicted by opposition players, the 1970 tournament in Mexico was to be Pel�s last. The 1970 team, featuring famous players like Rivelino, Jairzinho, G�rson, and Tost�o, is often considered to be the greatest national team ever. Brazil defeated Italy 4�1 in the final, with Pel� scoring one and setting up Carlos Alberto for another. During his international career, Brazil never lost while Pel� and Garrincha were both playing.

Pel�s technique and deft touch combined with his dribbling skills and scoring ability have been universally praised. His most spectacular signature move was probably the "bicycle kick". After his retirement from Brazilian football on 2 October 1974, he joined the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. A reported $7,000,000 contract for three years made him the highest paid football player of the North American Soccer League. [2]

During the three seasons playing for the Cosmos he was named in the annual NASL First Team: the 11 best players of a particular season. He was also named as the leagues most valuable player in 1976. His lucrative contract for Cosmos meant that Pele had to play in the regular US-based NASL season but also travel the world playing many exhibition games. During the 3 years Pele played for Cosmos, he played matches in countries such as: China, Japan, Sweden, Bermuda and Uganda. In his final year as a professional player, the NY Cosmos won the 1977 NASL Championship. During that season Pele was joined by fellow Brazilian Carlos Alberto and "the Kaiser", Franz Beckenbauer.

He played his last game as a professional in a friendly match on October 1, 1977, in front of a capacity crowd at Giants Stadium against his old club, Santos; he played the first half with the Cosmos and the second half with Santos. The exhibition game was sold out six weeks beforehand. Pel� did appear in a few friendly games for the Cosmos after he retired in 1977. Due to falling attendance the Cosmos did try to bring Pel� out of retirement a second time, but he declined.

In 2002, Pel� scouted for Premiership Football Team Fulham FC. [3]

In 1995, President Cardoso appointed Pel� to the position of Minister of Sports. He left after he was allegedly involved in a bribery scandal. In 2005, Pel� drew international media attention due to the imprisonment of Edson Cholbi Nascimento, his son and ex-goalkeeper of Santos Futebol Clube, who was arrested in an operation to dismantle a drug gang in southeastern Brazil. Nascimento, the younger (then 35) was arrested along with some 50 other people after an eight-month investigation into a cocaine trafficking operation in the port city of Santos.

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