Blatter congratulates Pele on his 73rd birthday
© FIFA.com

In the football world at least, 23 October is no ordinary day. Some 73 years ago today, in the Brazilian city of Tres Coracoes, the man who would spearhead his country’s dominance of global football and, in the process, change the face of the game was born.

The player in question was christened Edson Arantes do Nascimento, a name that, as his talent flourished and his fame grew, gradually came to be replaced by a nickname that became known the world over: Pele. 

Not even his long list of achievements, awards and titles can express how much the Brazilian legend means to the sport he graced. The only player who has ever won three FIFA World Cup™ titles, in 1958, 1962 and 1970, Pele captured the imagination of people of all ages, and though he has long since retired his name remains synonymous with pure footballing talent.

In recognition of the importance of today’s date to the football world, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter sent a letter of congratulations to the player they call O Rei.

In it Blatter wrote: “I wish you every happiness and hope you have a lovely day celebrating with your family and friends. With excitement mounting ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, I look forward to enjoying this festival of football by your side. I am also very pleased to learn that you will be attending the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or, and it will give me great pleasure to welcome you in Zurich for the occasion.”