Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé – there will never be another like him. Although it’s highly subjective, for many people he was the greatest player the game has ever seen – a member of the greatest team of all-time. The Brazil team that took to the field at Mexico 70 was arguably the best if not the most skillful and flamboyant side in football history – judge for yourself by watching the highlights of the final against Italy.
📺 Mexico 1970 was the first #WorldCup broadcast in colour & Brazil proved why they were the best in the world 🏆
🇧🇷 Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in the final thanks to @Pele, Gerson, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Rivelino, Tostao, Clodoaldo & the list goes on…pic.twitter.com/O9P8kXWWig
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 18, 2020
In Mexico, a tournament he was reluctant to even take part in, we witnessed peak Pelé, but by then, his international career was almost over. The following year he played his final game for Brazil, 14 years after it had started, when he made his first appearance as a teenager.
Youngest player to score for Brazil
Pelé made his debut with Brazil’s senior side aged 16 years and nine months in a Roca Cup tie against Argentina at the Maracanã on 7 July 1957. He came on as a sub, replacing Santos team mate Emanuele Del Vecchio. He got on the scoresheet, cancelling out Ángel Labruna’s opener and in doing so, became the youngest goal scorer for the Brazil senior side – an achievement he still holds to this day.
Brazil played Argentina again a few days later and this time the young Pelé was in the starting XI. And once again he found the net as Brazil got their own back, beating their South American rivals 2-0 to lift the cup – his first piece of silverware. It was clear a star was born, from that moment, Pelé never looked back.
Brazilian football legend Pele looks at the World Cup trophy during a FIFA in Paris in 2014.FRANCK FIFEAFP
How many trophies did Pelé win with Brazil?
Pelé won a total of 10 trophies during his senior international career but only three major titles. He won the greatest prize of all in football, the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and remains the only player to have won the Men’s edition three times.
The remainder of Pelé’s international honours were minor trophies from tournaments that were played sporadically and only in South America. He was part of the Brazil side that lifted the Taça Oswaldo Cruz three times and the Roca Cup twice. His other triumphs with Brazil included the second edition of the Taça do Atlântico in 1960 and the Copa Bernardo O’Higgins – a competition played exclusively between Chile and Brazil, in 1959.
World Cup: 1958, 1962, 1970Taça do Atlântico: 1960Roca Cup: 1957, 1963Taça Oswaldo Cruz: 1958, 1962, 1968Copa Bernardo O’Higgins: 1959
How many goals did Pelé score for Brazil?
There is a certain amount of discrepancy about how many goals Pelé scored throughout his professional career (FIFA make it 1,281 goals in 1,363 games; other sources claim 1,282 or 1284 goals), but with the national team, there is no disagreement.
There were the almost-goals – memorable attempts that didn’t end up in the back of the net – like when he narrowly missed scoring from the halfway line or beating Uruguay goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz with the most outrageous dummy ever.
From his debut in July 1957 until his final game, against Yugoslavia on 18 July 1971, Pelé scored 77 goals in 92 appearances for Brazil. More than half of those goals – 51 in total, were scored in friendlies or minor South American tournaments. The rest, in FIFA-recognised competitions. Pelé scored 12 goals in 14 appearances for Brazil in four different editions of the World Cup finals – 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970. The Seleção never lost a match with Pelé and Garrincha together on the pitch. His last goal for Brazil, a relatively straightforward tap-in, was in an international friendly against Austria in São Paulo in July 1971, his penultimate appearance for the national team.
¡Feliz cumpleaños 8️⃣2️⃣al rey 👑 Edson Arantes do Nascimento, ‘Pelé’ 🎂
Único jugador en conseguir3️⃣ Copas del Mundo 🏆 (1958, 1962, 1970)
1️⃣2️⃣ goles en mundiales
📹 @FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/xIqDM1elPq
— Zona TUDN (@Zona_TUDN) October 23, 2022
Breakdown of Pelé’s goals for Brazil
World Cup qualifiers – 6World Cup finals – 12Copa América – 8Friendlies – 34Other tournaments – 17