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Pele - a Golden Player

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There are many fabulous football players in the world, but only one of them was voted in 2007 as the best football player the history has ever known. In modern times, many believe that players from Manchester United or Chelsea are the greatest footballers of the world, but they are sadly mistaken. By far, considering his glorious career, talent, devotion and determination, Pelé is the best thing that has ever happened to football, and he deserves his title of worldwide ambassador for football, which he received after his retirement.

Born Edison Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé is at the moment a retired Brazilian footballer. He was born on the 23rd of October 1940 in Brazil from father footballer Dondinho and mother Dona Celeste Arantes. His talent and inclination towards football were in his blood, which is what led him to join the youth team of Bauru Atletico Clube at the age of 12, where he started training to become like his father. Later on, when he was 16, he was noticed by a sponsor who offered him a spot in the professional club Santos Futebol Clube, where he was going to start his life as footballer. After scoring his first goal in a friendly match and winning several games over the year, Pelé was named to take part of the Brazilian national team.

Roger Brooks wrote a short biography of Pelé for the Success magazine, and he correctly states that the first time Pelé played in the FIFA World Cup was in 1958, at the age of 17, in Sweden. Brooks adds that “he was then the youngest player to ever appear in the World Cup, and he remains the youngest to appear in a final and score a goal.” (Brooks) Without a doubt, even when he was only 17 years old, Pelé showed signs of greatness. From that moment on, his career would only go north, facing almost no impediment. Such willpower and talent was present in the teenager that many professional clubs wanted him as a member. He was, however, devoted to the Brazilian National Football team. After his team’s success at the FIFA World Cup of 1958 and after winning 32 official trophies, the International Olympic Committee declared him Athlete of the Century.

Brooks also quotes Pelé regarding his passion for football. Pelé believes that any person who wants to achieve something needs to work for it without fatigue, and that there are not secret formulas to be successful. He says that “Preparation doesn’t start a day or a week before the game or event” and he is absolutely right. All his life, Pelé have shown that with perseverance and power anything can be possible. However, as Brooks has depicted in the quote he wrote from the master of football, practice cannot start shortly prior to the event itself, but with a long time before it. (Brooks)

Only one year after his immense success in the FIFA World Cup 1958, Pelé had already scored 127 goals for Santos, just to score a goal worthy of a plaque in 1961. Stewart Coggin has written an article where he had researched the number of goals Pelé has made throughout his football career. In a total of 1393 games ever played, Pelé managed to score 1281 goals, which sums up to almost one goal per game. As a matter of fact, his 1000th goal came only 11 years after he joined a professional football team, in a game against Vasco da Gama in 1969. (Coggin) In addition, Coggin mentions that Pelé was always faithful to the football team he was in, never leaving it although he had received substantial offers from Real Madrid, AC Milan, Manchester United and Juventus. (Coggin)

After the football season in 1972, Pelé retired from Santos and closed the deal with New York Cosmos. He won multiple games with this current team, including a championship in 1977, which was going to be the third and final one he would play for the New York Cosmos before retiring. At the age of 37, the most brilliant football player of all times has decided to retire from his glorious career as a footballer. His legendary career was closed after he played in an exhibition match against the team he was placed in at age 17. He scored his final goal in this match as a direct free kick, leading the team into their last victory with Pelé as a component.

After his retirement, he was appointed worldwide ambassador of football, a great honor even for the greatest player of all times. In addition, he was also named the United Nations ambassador for ecology and environment, which were big responsibilities he was glad to assume. Linda Osbourse writes in one of her articles about the truth behind the retirement of Pelé. As it turns out, he initially declared he will retire in 1974, but he then joined the New York Cosmos one year later to help bring football to the American people. (Osbourne) His return was noble, because in the late 70’s football was only something the citizens of the USA heard of. The year 1977 was the one in which Pelé decided to retire for good.

Although retired from the football world, Pelé has never ceased to do his best to improve the quality of the game. In 2007, he was included in a worldwide project that intended to save the tropical rainforest from deforestation, which was meant to reduce the harmful effects on the environment and to set an example for the people of the world. In 2010, he created an illustrated book for kids called “For the Love of Soccer!” which was meant to teach kids the values of this sport, as well as the importance of discipline, ambition, teamwork and morals. (Brooks)

In 2006, Pelé signed a big deal for an autobiographical book which was released later on as a 2,500 unit limited-edition book. It was a pleasure for those who collected signed limited-edition books, mainly because it was the first-ever to be made football big book. Later that year, Pelé collaborated with Pfizer on a campaign to promote erectile dysfunction awareness and the new Viagra that they would release. In 2009, along with the publishing of the arcade football game called Academy of Champions: Soccer designed and created by Ubisoft, Pelé cooperated with the creators of the game to appear as a coach in some of the scenes.

Now, at the age of 71, Pelé is still extremely implicated in many projects that concern football. Furthermore, he spends a great lot of time with his five children and loving wife. At the beginning of October this year, he participated to a conference where he declared that he is considering coming out of his retirement. This decision was based on his determination and his passionate wish to continue his career. He thinks that despite his age, he is still young at heart and capable of obtaining great results. Liam Apicella covered this even for a sports website and he says that Pelé former team, Santos, have already filed registration forms for his return, as they are eager to enter him in the December Club World Cup. (Apicella) Furthermore, Apicella has shared the declaration of the president of the Santos club, Luis Alvaro de Oliviera Riberio, which said that he had talked to Pelé and that he is very optimistic about this decision and that he has vowed to practice more before he reentered the team for the game. (Apicella)

To come to a conclusion, considering all the great things that he has achieved during his life, Pelé is without a doubt the most imposing, talented, determined, ambitious and loyal figure of the football history. He has obtained many things that other footballers should look up to and he managed to find more in life after his retirement, contributing to social causes and aiding others to help the world. Although talent and experience are what makes a football player great, Pelé has managed to overcome these characteristics only because of his noble heart and capacity to see beyond the profits of the game.

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