Whenever there is a discussion about who is the greatest footballer of all time, there is always one name on the list – Pele.
The Brazilian footballer won three World Cups – the first when he was 17 and the last one, in 1970, to make him the best player of all time.
Pele scored more than 1,200 goals in his sporting career, and has always been the hero of the story in some of the most revered and repeated moments in football history.
However, many were not happy to see him kick the ball directly.
After his death at the age of 82, BBC Sport selected seven of Pele’s best moments on the field, to show what made the Brazilian so special.
Magical performance in his first World Cup
After making his debut with the Brazilian team Santos at the age of only 16, Pele was chosen to represent Brazil at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, when he was only 17 years old. And he succeeded in denying the saying that he was inexperienced in an amazing way.
He scored his first goal of the tournament in a 1-0 quarter-final win over Wales, and that was just the beginning of what he would do in the semi-finals, when he scored a (magic) hat-trick in the second half against France as Brazil won 5-2.
performance Fantastic cup final
But Pele was not satisfied with what he did in Sweden.
He participated in the final against the hosts in Solna, and in Sweden he scored two more goals: the first with a wonderful volley after he skillfully flicked the ball over the head of the defender and then received it directly to shoot at the goal, and the second with a powerfully directed header. He helped secure another 5-2 victory to give his country its first World Cup victory.
He wrote in his autobiography about winning the World Cup, saying: “It was an indescribable feeling and I wanted to experience it again. And again.”
A shot from midfield
Many deceptive shots from the middle of the field have appeared in football stadiums in recent times, but Pele was the first to implement them professionally and almost scored a historic scorer in the 1970 World Cup, but the ball passed right next to the goal.
In Brazil’s first group stage match in the 1970 World Cup against Czechoslovakia, while the score was 1-1, Pele received the ball in the middle of his court and glimpsed the goalkeeper outside, so he fired a missile that almost penetrated the goal, but passed by the post by one inch.
But he contributed to Brazil’s 4-1 victory in this match, and Pele revealed that he had deliberately hit the ball from the middle of the field and was not a stroke of luck because he watched the European guards and saw that they tended to move forward and left the goal empty.
And he admitted that his only regret about this ball is that he kept this idea in front of a more famous opponent, and rushed to implement it against Czechoslovakia.
Amazing free kick
In the last group match of the 1970 World Cup, Brazil faced Romania.
Pele scored two goals in the match, the first of which came from a powerful free kick that left the poor goalkeeper, Steer Adamachi, helpless, and he just watched it in astonishment.
Trick against Uruguay
Later in the 1970 tournament, Brazil faced Uruguay in the last four. It was another chance for Pele to shine.
Although he did not score any goals in the match, he came very close to achieving this, thanks to a powerful shot that came with individual skill and improvisation from Pele.
And in stoppage time, Pele achieved the most beautiful dribbling in the tournament when he ran hard towards a through ball in front of the goal, and the Uruguayan goalkeeper, Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, came out to receive it, but Pele deceived him with a movement of his body and made the ball pass from the goalkeeper to receive it from behind and hit it into the empty goal, but it passed by the post.
A story of two jumps in the air
After Brazil reached the final of the 1970 World Cup, Pele and his comrades could not afford to miss the opportunity to achieve a historic achievement and win the World Cup for the third time.
Pele twice jumped into the air in the final against Italy, the first when he rose high in the air over tall defender Tarcisio Burgnic, to score a beautiful goal, and after the goal he jumped again to throw himself into the arms of teammate Gerzinho, in one of the most famous celebrations of all.
The greatest goal in the World Cup?
Pele’s closing appearance in the 1970 final carrying a goal and an assist was one of the best goals ever scored on a world stage.
Indeed, Brazil achieved victory in the final match against Italy, 3-1, and Pele gave his best, scored a goal and contributed to another goal when he rose strongly up and passed a high ball with his head to his colleague Carlos Alberto, who hit the ball hard in the far corner of the net.