Photo by Ferran Feixas on Unsplash
Photo by Ferran Feixas on Unsplash


Celebrating the birthday of the greatest footballer of all time

October 23, 1940, marked the birth of the greatest football player of all time. In a town slightly smaller than Chico, in rural Brazil, this boy would grow up to become a man, and that man would change the world.

The kid from Minas Gerais would go on to stop wars, score a thousand goals, and conquer the world multiple times over.

Legends come and go; many soccer players are good, a few are great, but none are as immortalized in the history of sport as Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé.

His nickname has become synonymous with the beautiful game.

On his birthday, we remember the man who kick-started soccer in America, left an incredible mark at Santos, and, in passing, passed the torch to all future generations of soccer players.

Pelé brought his magic to the United States in the 1970s. His arrival at the New York Cosmos didn’t just bring fans to the stadiums; it brought attention to soccer in a nation where the sport was overshadowed by others. With skills and flair, he not only wowed crowds but also laid the foundation for the growth of soccer in the USA. His presence was a turning point; the spark that ignited a passion that continues to grow today.

Pelé’s history with Brazil’s national team is legendary. He won three FIFA World Cups, an achievement yet unmatched. His exploits in the 1958, 1962, and 1970 World Cups not only brought glory to Brazil but also showcased his unmatched talent on the global stage.

In his homeland, Brazil, Pelé is revered as a deity. Santos, his primary club, served as the stage for his most magnificent performances. It was at Santos that he became a footballing icon, captivating not only Brazilians but fans worldwide. There is even a remarkable incident in 1967, during Nigeria’s Civil War, where both sides declared a temporary ceasefire to witness the South American maestro play in an exhibition match with Santos. The club’s legacy of nurturing talent endures, with players like Neymar carrying the torch of Brazilian football’s tradition of brilliance.

I was born in Minas Gerais, the same state as Pelé, and growing up in Brazil, Pelé wasn’t just a man; he was a myth. In a country where soccer is more than just a game, he was our symbol of greatness.

Pelé taught us that regardless of our origins, skin color, or the language we speak, we can have a profound impact on the world. His journey from the humble town of Três Corações to the grandest stages of international football exemplified the idea that no dream is too big. Pelé’s legacy transcends soccer; it’s a reminder that we can all strive for excellence and make our mark on the world, no matter where we come from or who we are. He inspired us to believe in the power of our dreams, showing that with talent, dedication, and unwavering determination, we can achieve greatness.

Pelé’s passing on December 29, 2022, left a void in the footballing world. His battle with colon cancer and subsequent multiple organ failure reminded us that even the greatest of heroes are mere mortals. Yet, in his passing, he left behind an enduring legacy, an undying love for the sport, and a new generation of soccer stars who look up to him as their inspiration.

Pelé’s impact on the world of soccer is unmatched, and on his birthday, we remember not just the man but the legacy– the inspiration, and the joy, he brought to millions of hearts around the globe. Happy birthday to the legend, whose spirit continues to live on in the hearts of soccer fans and aspiring stars alike.

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