Edson Arante do Nascimento (Pele) died today. This, the football world has lost a legend.
His exploit can best be appreciated in a forward to his book by Robert L. Fish titled “MY LIFE AND THE BEAUTIFUL GAME authored by himself. published in USA 1977.
“Edson Arante do Nascimento-Pele is the world’s best known athlete. He is the only three -time world champion in football, the only man who has played on three world championship team. To appreciate what this means, one must realisze that 140 countries then before now, vied for this championship once every four years. Two years before this tournament, elimination rounds were held between these countries and only the best fourteen, plus the previous winner and the host country, comprising the sixteen teams go into the finals. For a team to win in these finals means it is the world champion in every sense. And for a team to win the world championship three times is truly remarkable.
Pele is the only man in the world who has played in three world championship teams.
He is famous in the farthest reaches of Asia Minor and deepest interior of Africa as he is in the capitals of Europe and the Americas. More people have seen him play football than any athlete in any sport, any where, at any time. More people know his name and face than any other person who has ever lived. He has been photographed more than any person in history, including film stars and statement. He has visited eighty-eight countries, has met with ten kings, five emperors, seventy presidents,and fourty other head of state, including two Popes. He is an honorary citizen of more cities and countries than any person in history.
In Nigeria a two day truce was declared in the tragic war with Biafra so that both sides could see him play. The Shah of Iran waited three hours at the international airport just to be able to speak to Pele and be photographed with him. Frontier guards of Red China left their posts and came to Hongkong to see him and compliment him when they heard he was there. In Colombia when Pele was sent from the game for disputing a referee’s decision, the crowd stormed the field, the referee had to be rescued by the Police, a linesman was hastily appointed referee and Pele was forced back into the game.
He recorded a number of goals-nearly 1,300, more than double the number for his nearest competitor then, and comes to an average of almost one goal per game, a record that will probably stand for all time.
He has given more Interviews in more countries to all forms of all the media than any man alive, and of all athletes he is probably the most accessible to newsmen and by far the best liked. He is the highest -salaried team athlete in history, as well as probably being the richest. Sports Illustrated Magazine claims Pele hss the most perfect physique of any athlete in the world. Over ninety songs have been written in various countries in which Pele is named; in his own country, Brazil he is known not only as an athlete, but as an actor in movies and Television, as well as being a fine poet and excellent musician.
With the barest of educational opportunities as a youth, after reaching the pinnacle of fame he made the effort to study and eventually received a university degree. Through his many travels and through much personal effort, Pele speaks fluent Spanish, quite passable French, And Italian, and is rapidly attaining fluency in English, as well as being remarkably expressive in his native Portuguese.
There are all interesting facts-but who really is Pele what winds him up, what makes him tick? What makes him Pele?
How did a quiet,shy, sometimes introspective boy of fifteen, picked to try out with an excellent but relatively small club in Santos in Brazil, within twenty months become the idol of international football world? Where did the charisma
develop that has brought him the adulation he received where-ever he went, as well as bringing him admiration and respect of every player he had either played with or against in his career? How was he able not only to maintain that popularity, but to increase it in twenty years since he first amazed the world with his exceptional skills?
Possibly one cannot explain his unique genius at the game of football any more than one can explain the genius of Mozart in writing the music he wrote at the age he wrote it. Genius in his own explanation. It has been suggested that there is a sort of built in computer in Pele’s head that instantly correct itself according to the constantly changing positions in the ball on the field and ever different location of the other players. bringing him to the right place at the right time to make effective play. If so, that sort of built in computer has been programmed with years of hard practice, by much gruelling experience, and by a life of total dedication to the constant learning of the craft.
Almost every reporter who has interviewed Pele has come away to speak of the simplicity of the man. Humble, possibly; modest. No human being is simple, least of all Pele. perhaps by learning of his life as he saw it himself, we can come to understand a bit more of the mystery of this extremely complex person” by Robert L Fish
Pele has so many football accolades not mentioned in this forward to his autobiography,though some of these records have been broken. His world record of being the youngest player to have played in the World Cup at the age of seventeen was broken by Norman Whiteside of North Ireland who played at the age of 17 years 41 days, in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Pele played at the World Cup at the age of 17years 7 months 23days. His record of being the only player to have played in four World Cups was broken by so many players. However no Cosmos football club player will ever wear number 10 as a mark of honour for Pele.
Though some of his records have been broken, the facts still remain that there were no series of football competition as we have now!