Edison Arantes do Nascimento, KBE (born October 23, 1940 in Três Corações, Brazil), best known by his nickname Pelé, is a Brazilian former football player, rated by many as the greatest footballer of all time. He was given the title of Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. While his birth certificate shows his first name as Edison (after the American inventor), he prefers to call himself Edson, but it is as Pelé that he has become a sporting legend.
In his native Brazil, Pelé is hailed as a national hero. He is known for his accomplishments and contributions to the game of football, in addition to being officially declared the football ambassador of the world by FIFA and a national treasure by the Brazilian government. He is also acknowledged for his vocal support of policies to improve the social conditions of the poor (when he scored his 1,000th goal he dedicated it to the poor children of Brazil). During his career, he became known as "The King of Football" (O Rei do Futebol), "The King Pelé" (O Rei Pelé) or simply "The King" (O Rei). He is also a member of the American National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Spotted by football star Waldemar de Brito, Pelé began playing for Santos Futebol Clube at 15 and his national team at 16, and won his first World Cup at 17. Despite numerous offers from European clubs, the current economic conditions and Brazilian Football regulations benefited Santos FC, thus enabling them to keep Pelé for almost two decades until his semi-retirement in 1974. Pelé played as an inside forward, striker, and what later became known as the playmaker position. Pelé's technique and natural athleticism have been universally praised; he was renowned for his excellent dribbling and passing, his pace, powerful shot, exceptional heading ability, and prolific goalscoring.
He is the all-time top scorer in the history of the Brazil national football team and is the only footballer to be a part of three World Cup-winning teams. In 1962 he was part of the Brazilian squad but due to an injury suffered in the 2nd match did not play the whole Cup. Officially, just in November 2007 FIFA announced that he would be awarded the 1962 medal retroactively, making him the only player in the world to have three World Cup gold medals.