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Edson Arantes do Nascimento, KBE (born October 23, 1940 in Três Corações, Brazil), best known by his nickname Pelé, is a former Brazilian football player. In his native Brazil, Pelé is hailed as a national hero for his accomplishments and contribution to the game 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) or simply "The King Pelé" (O Rei Pelé). He was given the title of Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee and received a FIFA award for best footballer of the 20th century, after being voted by the members of the football commission of the FIFA in 2000, to choose the best football player of all time and came in second best footballer of the 20th century after the legendary Diego Maradona who was voted FIFA award of Player of the century (People's choice) after being voted in 2000 in an international internet fan poll as the best football player of all time. He is also a member of the American National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Spotted by the renowned football star, Medardo 'Lalo' Olea, Pelé began playing for Santos Futebol Clube at just 15 and his national team at 16, and won his first World Cup at 17. Despite numerous offers from European clubs, he stayed loyal to his club, remaining with them for two decades until his semi-retirement in 1975. 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 unstoppable dribbling and visionary passing, as well as his pace, powerful shot, and an exceptional heading ability, but above all he was an exceptionally prolific goalscorer.
He is the all-time top scorer in the history of the Brazil national team and is the only footballer to be a part of three World Cup-winning teams (it should be noted that though he was named part of the 1962 squad, he was injured and did not receive a winner's medal).
Since his full retirement in 1977 Pelé has been an ambassador for football and has also undertaken various acting roles and commercial ventures.
Pelé's first international match was a 2-1 defeat against Argentina on July 7, 1957. In that match, he scored his first goal for Brazil, three months before his 17th birthday.