If you’re a soccer fan, you can probably recall Pele: five best goals (at least) of the legendary soccer great, Pele. Edson Arantes “Pele” Nascimento is a retired Brazilian soccer player. With 1,282 goals in 1,363 games, Pele is one of the most famous soccer players in the world. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1993.
Pele, just five feet eight inches tall, was considered a giant on the soccer field. He had amazing speed, balance, control, power and ability to anticipate his opponents' moves. His legend began at the 1958 World Cup, when Pele was only seventeen. Under his leadership, Brazil won the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970. Here are some of Pele's career highlights.
- 1958 World Cup Game: First Goal. Pele scored his first World Cup goal in 1958, during the quarter-final match between Brazil and Wales. It was Brazil’s only goal, but it was enough to win the game. With his winning goal, Pele became the youngest player to score in a World Cup game. He later described that first goal as the most important one in his career.
- 1958 World Cup Game: Hat Trick. During the same tournament, Pele scored another memorable goal. Make that three goals. In the semi-final match between Brazil and France, Pele scored a hat trick (three goals in succession) in less than twenty minutes. This secured his fame and paved the way for Brazil to win the 1958 World Cup championship.
- 1969 Vasco de Gama Match: 1000th Goal. Pele scored his 1000th professional goal on November 19, 1969. The goal resulted from a penalty kick against the team Vasco da Gama at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Pele dedicated the goal to Brazil’s poor children and the elderly and suffering people of his country.
- 1970 World Cup Final: Header Goal. Brazil played Italy in the final match of the 1970 World Cup tournament, Pele’s last World Cup game. One of Pele’s best goals was the game opener, a header over Italian player Tarcisio Burgnich. “I have a special feeling for that goal because I scored it with my head,” Pele said. Burgnich later said of Pele, “I told myself before the game, he’s made of skin and bones just like everyone else. But I was wrong.”
- 1977 Exhibition Game: Rocket Goal. In the 1970s, Pele came out of retirement to play two years for the North American Soccer League. His goal was “to make soccer truly popular in the United States.” In a 1977 exhibition game between the New York Cosmos and Brazil’s Santos Football Club, Pele played his last game–the first half for the Cosmos, and the second half for Santos. In a memorable play from the game’s first half, Pele scored one for the Cosmos with a rocket goal from thirty yards out.