Photos: A look through Brazilian football icon Pele’s incredible career


But beyond his records, he will be remembered for revolutionising the sport, his ever-present number 10 on his back

Brazilian football icon Pele, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time and a three-time World Cup winner who masterminded the “beautiful game,” died on Thursday at the age of 82.

“Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace,” daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram.

Born October 23, 1940, in the southeastern city of Tres Coracoes, Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Pele’s real name – grew up selling peanuts on the street to help his impoverished family get by.

The first global football star, he played a lead role in the game’s transformation into a sporting and commercial powerhouse, tapping his preternatural athleticism despite his relatively small size – 1.70 metres (just under five-foot-seven).

But beyond his records, he will be remembered for revolutionising the sport, his ever-present number 10 on his back.

Here is a look at the late legend’s incredible career, in numbers:

  • Won three World Cup titles with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – the only player to have won the showpiece tournament three times.

  • Became the youngest-ever player to win the World Cup trophy at 17, a record that still stands.

  • Scored 757 goals in 812 official matches for club and country, a record that stood for decades until Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo eclipsed his tally.

  • Brazil’s football association (CBF) and Santos say Pele scored a total of 1,283 goals in 1,367 matches while Fifa puts the figure at 1,281 goals in 1,366 games. Other sources give varying figures depending on the types of games included.

  • Netted 77 goals in 92 official matches for Brazil – the country’s all-time leading goal scorer, alongside Neymar, who netted his 77th goal in the 2022 World Cup.
  • Scored 12 goals in World Cups.

  • Registered six assists at Mexico 1970 – a record for one World Cup.

  • Scored 92 hat-tricks across official and unofficial games.
  • Scored 127 goals for Santos in 1959, thought to be the most goals scored by a club player in one calendar year.

  • Finished as Santos’ top scorer with 643 goals in 659 competitive matches.

  • Won Brazil’s Serie A six times with Santos (1961-1965 and 1968)

  • Led Santos to two Copa Libertadores titles (1962 and 1963).


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