The Legacy of Pelé


Edson Arantes do Nascimento, legendarily known as Pelé, is often considered one of the greatest football (or soccer) players of all time. Born in Brazil in 1940 to a former footballer, Pelé’s legacy has changed the game of football as we know it, and still to this day inspires many players and fans around the world.

Pelé began his professional career with Santos FC at the ripe old age of 15, debuting on September 7th, 1956. His swift establishment as a dominant force in Brazilian football was quickly heard across the sidelines. Pelé helped lead Santos to two Copa Libertadores titles (the highest level of competition for teams in South America) in 1962 and 1963, their last titles until 2011, and many other notable domestic championships, earning himself a deserved reputation as one of the most skilled players around the globe.

In 1958, Pelé made his mark at the World Cup debut for Brazil and helped lead the football team to their first World Cup victory. He played consistently in four World Cup tournaments, winning three of them (1958, 1962, and 1970), and he remains the youngest player to score a goal in a World Cup final at the age of 17 when he scored two goals in the 5-2 victory over hosts Sweden. He even managed to take a detour into the United States to play for the original New York Cosmos, the most famous team of the North American Soccer League in the 1970s and 80s.

Pelé’s impact on the sport is extraordinary. He was a pioneer in many ways, who set the example for future generations of players to mimic some of his movements or perfect the art of football. His status in the football scene helped to popularize football around the world and taught everyone who he was. 

Even off the field, Pelé was known for his humble and gracious attitude, earning him much respect and admiration. He used his platform to fight for various social and humanitarian causes, further establishing his status as a beloved figure both on and off the field. His status remains legendary even after his tragic passing.

Since Pelé’s retirement from professional football in 1977, his already amazing impact on football somehow only expanded in the decades since. Pelé was awarded the FIFA Centennial Order of Merit in 2004, given to him in recognition of his major contributions to the community. He was elected to the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame and the International Football Hall of Fame soon after.

In recent years, Pelé increasingly involved himself in promoting football as a tool for justice and social change, working with organizations such as the Pele Foundation and Football for Hope to use his figure to promote education, health and peace. His contributions back to the community even after retiring really invoke the true qualities of Pelé and how he was one of the best footballers to touch the field.

Tragically, Pelé was admitted to a hospital in São Paulo in late November of 2022 for a respiratory infection and for complications related to colon cancer. He laid on his bed as weeks went by when his health got worse as he was battling colon cancer. On December 29, 2022, Pelé passed away due to many organ failures due to the progression of colon cancer. After the world heard the tragic news, word broke out and many people around the world paid respects. Many people still mourn the loss of Pelé, but to this day, I personally consider him one of the best footballers of all time. He pioneered the sport in many ways fans back then didn’t think of, and he elevated the skill level over the decades.

The legacy of Pelé is one full of inspiration and great humility. He will forever be remembered as one of the greatest and most iconic footballers of all time and his impact on the sport will continue to motivate and help guide many more. Pelé’s contributions to Football, both on and off the field, have left a mark on the history of football and he remains an iconic figure in the sport today. Pele’s outstanding character will not be forgotten and he has definitely made the history books. His story of his humble beginnings to his fame is truly something to be talked about.