Long before that adjective defined the game, Pele in full flow was the most beautiful sight in football.
Even today, his name is synonymous with excellence, breathtaking skill, and the highest level of sportsmanship. There was never a debate about who was the greatest footballer of all time before Maradona, Ronaldo, and Messi. Every fan recognized Pele and adored him.
According to Clodoaldo, Pele’s teammate, people adored Peele and usually showed their adoration by wanting to kiss him.
Pele, like most of the greats, was short, which gave him a low center of gravity and perfect balance. He was a mesmerizing dribbler with incredible air power. But it was his reading of the game, timing and anticipation, accuracy with the ball, courage, and effortless improvisation that made him appear superhuman at times.
He was also a calm and fair player who rarely lost his cool despite being brutally attacked by opponents. His warm embrace with Bobby Moore after Brazil defeated England in the 1970 World Cup was the epitome of sportsmanship.
Historians believe Pele gave Brazil the positive image that served as the foundation for the modern nation. Not bad for a boy from the slums of Bauro in Sao Paulo who grew up in poverty and was forced to work in tea shops as a child.
On October 23, 1940, in Três Coraçes, Minas Gerais, Brazil, he was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento to Fluminense footballer Dondinho and Celeste Arantes. He was the eldest of three children and was named after Thomas Edison, an American inventor. As a child, he was given the nickname Pele after mispronouncing the name of his favorite player, Brazilian Bile.
Because they couldn’t afford a ball, his father taught him to play football with a sock stuffed with newspapers or a grapefruit.