Pele: The greatest of them all

Pele arrives at the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2011
© Getty Images

They reverently called him O Rei do Futebol, The King of Football, and his face remains one of the world’s most universal and instantly recognisable. The man is Pele, the Brazilian superstar who was named Player of the Century by FIFA in the year 2000.

Pele’s stellar ascent began at the age of just 17, when he celebrated his maiden FIFA World Cup™ triumph with Brazil at the 1958 finals in Sweden. He remains the youngest-ever player to claim a winner’s medal in the world’s most prestigious tournament. The striker was in his country’s squad for their next success in 1962 but missed most of the finals with injury. After a relatively subdued period, Pele was at his most imperious for the 1970 tournament in Mexico and led his team to another momentous triumph. He is the only player to lay hands on the FIFA World Cup three times.

In the course of his long and unique career, he scored more than 1,200  goals, a record likely to stand for all time, and which includes more than 1,000 goals for Santos, Pele’s club from 1956 to 1974. He also added 72 goals in 92 appearances for A Seleção.

So why not join on a journey back in time, as our Video of the Week pays tribute to the young Pele in action. We can promise you a rich treat, equally fascinating for those who’ve never seen this true great in action before, and folk who are already familiar with The King of Football.