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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. He is known 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.

Pelé made his debut for Santos in 1956, scoring one goal in a 7-1 friendly victory over Corinthians. When the 1957 season started, Pelé was given a starting place in the first team and, at the age of just 16, became the top scorer in the league. Just ten months after signing professionally, the teenager was called up to the Brazil national team. After the World Cup in 1962, wealthy European clubs offered massive fees to sign the young player, but the government of Brazil declared Pelé an "official national treasure" to prevent him from being transferred out of the country.

During the second half, Cosmos striker Ramon Mifflin, who had replaced Pelé when he switched sides at halftime, scored on a deflected cross, and the Cosmos won the match 2-1. After the match, Pelé was embraced by the Cosmos players, including longtime rival Giorgio Chinaglia, and then ran around the field while holding an American flag in his left hand and a Brazilian flag in his right hand. Pelé was soon lifted by several Cosmos players and carried around the field.

It is often claimed that Pelé is the most prolific scorer in football history. According to FIFA, Pelé ended his career with a total of 1281 goals in 1363 matches. However, many of these goals were scored in non-competitive club matches. For instance, if one counts non-competitive goals when compiling the total of goals scored by Gerd Müller, he would have a career total of 1455 goals in 1204 games. As non-competitive games are rarely counted in player's statistics it is unknown how many players could have passed Pelé's mark, but 1281 goals is certainly one of the highest totals achieved by a professional footballer. If one looks only at competitive goals, then Pelé is the second highest scorer of all time behind Josef Bican. Bican never attempted to draw attention to his record, and when questioned about this, he quipped "who'd have believed me if I said I'd scored five times as many goals as Pelé?"


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