Brazilian soccer great Pelé scores his 1,000th professional goal in a game, against Vasco da Gama in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.
It was a major milestone in an illustrious career that included three World Cup championships. Pelé, considered one of the greatest soccer players ever to take the field, was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Tres Coracos, Brazil, in 1940.
He acquired the nickname Pelé during his childhood though the name has no meaning in his native Portuguese. When he was a teenager, he played for a minor league soccer club in Bauru in Sao Paulo state and in 1956 joined the major league Santos Football Club in the city of Sao Paulo, playing inside left forward.
Two years later, he led the Brazilian national team to victory in the World Cup. Pelé, who was only 17 years old, scored two goals to defeat Sweden in the final.
Pelé was blessed with speed, balance, control, power, and an uncanny ability to anticipate the movements of his opponents and teammates.
Although just five feet eight inches tall, he was a giant on the field, leading Santos to three national club championships, two South American championships, and the world club title in 1963. Under Pelé’s leadership, Brazil won the World Cup in 1958, 1962, and 1970.