Pelé: A Legend and a National Hero

Illustrated by Jeannette Khouri
Illustrated by Jeannette Khouri

Pelé: A Legend and a National Hero

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé, is a retired Brazilian soccer player, born on October 23, 1940, in the city of Tres Caracos in Brazil. Pelé is considered by many to be the best player in the history of football.

Pelé is hailed as a national hero in Brazil where he played as a striker. He was also famous for playing back balls, and said that he regretted not scoring such a ball in the World Cup.

Pelé said that he will be watching his country’s World Cup matches from the hospital where he was admitted.

“In 1958, I walked the streets thinking about fulfilling the promise I made to my father,” the three-time World Cup winner wrote on Twitter, alongside a photograph of a then-17-year-old Pelé. “I know that today many have made similar promises and are also seeking their first World Cup. I’ll be watching the game from hospital and I’ll be rooting for each one of you. Good luck!”

The 82-year-old Pelé was admitted to the hospital this week but is under no imminent risk of death, according to several family members.

The soccer great is also undergoing chemotherapy in his fight against cancer. He is expected to leave the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo once he fully recovers from the respiratory infection, although neither the family nor the hospital know when that might happen.

In 1999, Pelé was chosen as the player of the century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.

In the same year, Pelé won the title of “Player of the Century,” after France Football magazine asked the winners of its Ballon d’Or award to nominate the best player of the century.

Again In 1999, Pelé was chosen as the Sportsman of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. Time magazine also nominated him for the list of the most important people of the 20th century. In 2013, Pelé was awarded a special Ballon d’Or Prix d'Honneur by FIFA.

Pelé played his first international match with the Brazil national football team on July 7, 1956, against the Argentina national football team, which won 2-1. After that, he participated in the World Cup with the national team for four consecutive sessions.

He was the youngest player in the world to participate in the 1958 World Cup and scored his first goal in the World Cup against the Wales national football team in the quarter-finals.

He became the youngest player to score a goal in the World Cup, and ended the tournament with six goals scored in four matches. He was the second top scorer in the tournament, behind Just Fontaine. It is worth noting that Brazil won the World Cup in that year.

After that, the Brazilian legend participated in three consecutive World Cups, namely, the 1962 World Cup, the 1966 World Cup, and the 1970 World Cup.

Brazil won the World Cup in Sweden 1958 which was the first participation of the Brazilian football legend. Brazil won the 1959 South American Cup and Pelé played the final match and was the top scorer of the session with 9 goals in the 1962 World Cup in Chile.

He won the England 1966 World Cup title but was eliminated in the first round of the World Cup World Mexico 1970.

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