Pelé, the man whose very name is synonymous with soccer excellence, turns 73 today.

To watch him play was breathtaking. To read his career stats is jaw-dropping. Widely regarded as the best player to every lace up cleats, Pelé scored a record 541 league goals representing Santos in his native Brazil and the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League. All told he netted a staggering 1,281 times in 1,363 matches.

As with all legends, Pelé was at his best on the most glamorous, stakes-filled stage. He helped Brazil win the 1958 FIFA World Cup Sweden when he was 17, the youngest player ever to feature in a World Cup match at the time, and went on to become the only player to every win the coveted trophy three times.

Golden Foot - The Champions Promenade

He still ranks as Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer and can boast an unreal 12 goals and 10 assists in 14 FIFA World Cup appearances.

By any metric, he was a meteoric player and still a Brazilian and worldwide sporting treasure.

Celebrate Pelé’s birthday by shopping soccer.com’s collection of Pelé Sports footwear and lifestyle apparel. Plus, with today’s prices, you don’t have to be Gordon Banks to make a save from Pelé.

  • Neil Cohen

    It was an honor to play against the greatest player of all time. I should have never tried to nutmeg him at his first game in US on Randall’s Island. Was met with an elbow in the adams apple.

  • http://www.futbalovezajazdy.sk Martin Krafcik

    He will always be my favorite player although I was too young to watch him play.

    Nice article btw http://www.futbalovezajazdy.sk Thanks.