10 Things You Did Not Know About World Football Legend Pele


Brazil Football Legend Pele passed on at the age of 82 after a long battle with colon cancer. Futballnews looks at 10 things you may not know about the Brazil football icon.

  1. Pele’s real name is Edson Arantes Do Nascimento

Pele is a football icon. All football lovers know him as Pele, but his real name is Edson Arantes Do Nascimento. He is a Brazilian Portuguese. In the three names, the first name is his maternal name, “Edson,” while the second name, ” Arantes,” goes for the paternal side. However, he is known by the mononym “Pele.”

  1. Pele was tutored and mentored by his father, Dondinho

Pele is a football legend who transformed football from an ordinary sport to a gratifying art. He is known as the king of the game, but little is known of the role his father played in molding him into the legend he became in football before his death.

Pele’s father was Jao Ramos Do Nascimento, but he was popularly known as Dondinho.

Dondinho was another great Brazil footballer, who played as a striker for Brazil’s national team, and Fluminese.

Born on October 2, 1917, Dondinho died at 79 years on 16 November 1996. Before his death, Dondinho is said to have left no stone unturned in training Pele to become one of the best legs in football.

  • 3. How Pele get the name “O Rei” (The King)

Pele got the name “the King” in the 1958 World Cup. He was just 17 years of age, and there were rows in Brazil over why a 17-year-old was taken to the World Cup.

Before then, Brazil was yet to win the World Cup. The young Pele proved critics wrong, helping the Selecao to their first-ever World Cup trophy. He scored six goals in the tournament.

  1. Pele started his football career at the age of 15.

Pele started his football career at the age of 15 and was already breaking the bounds and establishing himself as a prolific player to be reckoned with. He made his first international appearance for Brazil just a year later and would go on to be Brazil’s all-time top-scorer.

  • 5. Played only for two clubs

At 15, Pele played for Santos. At 16, he broke into Brazil’s senior national team. At 17, he won the World Cup with the Selecao and would go on to defend it four years later at the age of 21.

Pele burst into the football scene as a promising star at a very tender age. However, he came to the scene in an era when South American players plied their trade in their continent. He played for only Dos Santos in Brazil and New York Cosmas in New York City.

  • 6. He married three wives and divorced two.

Pele first got married to Rosemeri Dos Reis Cholbi in 1966. Six years later, they divorced in 1982.

In 1994 when Brazil won their fourth World Cup trophy, he married Assiria Lemos Seixas. They divorced again in 2008.


Pele’s last wife is Marcia Aoki, who he married in 2016. The late football icon has 7 children, including Edinho, a Brazil football manager and former player.

  1. He was the most-paid football athlete of his time

During his days as a footballer, Pele’s football heroics made him the most popular and highest-paid football athlete in the world. He bagged several commercial endorsement deals and was the face of top global business brands.

  1. How he earned the name Pele

Among his peers, Pele was a brilliant and outstanding athlete. He reportedly earned the name “Pele” because he wrongly pronounced the name of a local goalkeeper for Vasco Da Gama, who was his favorite player.

The name of the goalkeeper was Bile. Pele could not pronounce it well and ended up twisting his vocals to voice out what sounds like “Pele,” replacing the “Bi” sound with the “Pe” sound. His peers took it from there and started using the wrong pronunciation for his name.

  1. Before football, Pele was a tea shop attendant

Pele did not have the best of childhood, according to reports. He was born and raised in the poor neighborhood of Baru in Sao Paulo.

Before his football career, he worked as a tea shop attendant to earn a living while floating his football skills with several amateur clubs in Brazil.


He could not afford socks to wear during training and usually improvised with a stock of newspaper well tied to his foot.

  1. Redefined black history and strong advocate against poverty.

Pele rose to the summit of his football career as a black man. Born and raised in poverty, he did not forget his roots. He was a strong advocate against poverty.

He supported and founded his own humanitarian and charitable organizations to help the less privileged, especially poor and vulnerable children.


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