One of the greatest football players of his generation and hailed by many as the best ever to step on a football field, Brazil legend Pele celebrates his 80th birthday today (October 23, 2020). Known for his mesmerizing dribbling skills and goal-scoring abilities, Pele was the main cog in the mighty Brazil team of the late 1950s and 1960s, which won the world cup three times in 12 years. Football Not in a Golden Age at Present: Pele.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, famously known as Pele, began his footballing career at the age of just 15 representing Brazilian giants Santos and then went on to make his debut for the national team at the age of 16. During his international career, Pele won three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), being the only player to do so. The Brazil icon also led club Santos to several honours during his time there and is also their leading goal-scorer, scoring over 1000 goals for them a record which stands till this day. So as the footballing legend turns a year older, we take a look at some of his best goals.
Brazil vs Italy, 1970
This may not be the most breathtaking goal you’ll ever see, but it surely is one of the most prominent in Pele’s career. The Brazilian found himself on the end of a Rivelino cross and rose highest tp score a brilliant header which is followed by the iconic celebration. This was Pele's first World Cup final goal since 1958.
Sweden vs Brazil, 1958
In this game, a 17-year-old Pele showed why he was destined to the very top of the footballing world. This goal came in the finals of the 1958 World Cup, Pele gave the perfect example of his creativity and intelligence, first flicking the ball over a Swedish defender and then volleying it past the keeper.
Santos vs Benfica, 1962
This was a game between two greats of that generation, Eusebio vs Pele and it was the Brazilian who came out on top. Scoring five goals over two legs of the 1962 UEFA international Cup final with this being the pick of the bunch. Pele scored a brilliant solo goal, beating Benfica defenders in close distance and then the keeper.
Pele retired from Brazilian club football in 1974 but occasionally played for Santos - a club where he spent 19 years as a professional. He then came out of his semi-retirement couple of years later, to sign with New York Cosmos of Major League Soccer, becoming the first major star in the league.