It’s Pelé’s birthday and he’s expecting a gift

This day in football history


On 23 October 1940, Edson Arantes do Nascimento was born in Três Corações, Brazil. Better known as “Pelé,” he went on to become one of football’s first global superstars.

He began his professional football career with Brazilian club Santos, for whom he played from 1956 to 1974. During that time, Santos won loads of silverware, including 10 league titles and five Taça Brasil trophies. Pelé made 656 official appearances for Santos in all competitions, scoring 643 goals. He was the Brazilian top flight’s leading goalscorer 11 times.

Between 1957 and 1971, he made 92 appearances for the Brazilian national team. With 77 goals he remains the national team’s all-time top scorer. Along the way, he became the only footballer to be a member of three World Cup-winning teams (1958, 1962, 1970).


In 1975, he signed with the New York Cosmos, helping them to the league title in 1977.

He played his last match on 1 October 1977, an exhibition between the Cosmos and Santos. Pelé played the first half for New York, scoring on a free kick. He then switched sides to play for Santos in the second half. New York won 2–1. After the match, several Cosmos players carried Pelé around the field while he held up the flags of Brazil and the United States.