Edson Arantes do Nascimento, born 23 October 1940, known as Pelé , is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a forward. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and labelled "the greatest" by FIFA, he was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century.
During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world.
In 1999, Pelé was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century.
That same year, Pelé was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee and was included in the Time list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.
According to the IFFHS, Pelé is the most successful top division scorer in the sport with 541 goals in 560 games. His total of 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which included friendlies, is a Guinness World Record.
Pelé began playing for Santos at age 15 and the Brazil national team at 16. During his international career, he won three FIFA World Cups: 1958, 1962 and 1970, the only player to do so.
Pelé is the all-time leading goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. At club level he is Santos' all-time top goalscorer with 643 goals from 659 games.
In a golden era for Santos, he led the club to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores, and to the 1962 and 1963 Intercontinental Cup. Credited with connecting the phrase "The Beautiful Game" with football, Pelé's "electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals" made him a star around the world, and his teams toured internationally in order to take full advantage of his popularity.
Since retiring in 1977, Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador for football and has made many acting and commercial ventures. In 2010, he was named the Honorary President of the New York Cosmos.