Pele: Bio, Age, Wife, Children, Family, World Cup Goals, & More

Pele: Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele is one of the most successful soccer players to ever exist.

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Reported by Anshika Saxena

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Pele: Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele is one of the most successful soccer players to ever exist. Even the Fédération Internationale de Football Association FIFA which is the international federation for football association has labelled him as “The Greatest“. His legacy and his achievements in the 20th century stand unmatchable. He has shown many people the way into the game and inspired football enthusiasts all over the world. The level of fan following he presently has is exceptional, as he is one of the major names in the world of sports.

Recently on 30 November 2022, Pele was hospitalized amid his battle against cancer and unfortunately, he passed away on 29th December 2022. He died at the age of 82 after battling cancer. Even the tumour was removed from his colon in 2021. Nevertheless, the after-effects of chemotherapy have been bothering him. He has been admitted to the Albert Einstein Hospital.

Pele Biography
Edson Arantes do Nascimento

In the subsequent biography, you can check all the details regarding the Footballer, His Age, Health Condition, Wife, Children, Career, World Cup Goals, and much more.

Pele Biography

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The legendary footballer who almost averages at least one goal per game, Pele has a massive fan following and respect in the world of Soccer. He has scored 775 goals in 840 games while averaging 0.84 average of goals. These matches also include friendly games that he played. He has led Brazil to win 3 FIFA World Cups. Not only his club’s career is legendary but so is his international career. He has coined the phrase, “The Beautiful Game” for football. At the time he was actively playing, he was known to be the highest-paid footballer. He was the first black global sporting star. Post his retirement from the sport in 1977, he has also been the Minister of Sports in Brazil’s government from 1995 – 1998. Not only a lot of films like Pelé, Pelé: Birth of a Legend, Pele Forever, and more have been based on him, but also he has worked in television series and films.

Pele is a humanitarian who runs a foundation to support children dealing with poverty. His personal lie has also gathered a substantial amount of public attention. Despite facing many physical setbacks and injuries, he has been optimistic and grateful for his health. He is a Catholic and he also donated a signed jersey to Pope Francis. His political involvement has cost him public trolling and investigations from the government. Thus, he tries to abstain from speaking about anything or participating in the political shenanigans of his nation.

Pele and Maradona
Pele and Maradona

His achievements are endless and multiple times, he has been observed as the Best Player. He has even been called to have played like a God. He has been applauded by nearly any and everyone who has a specific value in the game. He received Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award from the South African President, Nelson Mandela. He even won the first ever FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur. The IFFS has voted him as the World Player of the Century and the Time Magazine has coined him in the list of 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. His awards and achievements are endless as he has not only left an impression in the world of football but also inspired all communities and beyond. After Pele’s sad demise the current FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that they will ask every single country to name a stadium after Pele.

Early Life and Education

Edson Arantes do Nascimento was born on 23 October 1940, in Três Corações, Minas Gerais, Brazil. His father, Dondinho or João Ramos do Nascimento was a Fluminense footballer who mentored and coached him all along in his early days. He was married to Celeste Arantes, who along with Pele gave birth to two other kids. The couple named him after Thomas Edison. He was also nicknamed “Dico”. The origin of the name, “Pelé” for Edson was a mistakable one when he, as a young kid, misspoke the name of his favourite goalkeeper, Bilé. As per Edson, the name Pelé has no meaning and it stuck with him the more he retaliated causing him to accept it in the end. As per Hebrew, it means miracle, which the footballer eventually turned out to be.


Even though his father was a footballer, poverty struck them from the beginning and Pele had to grow up facing financial limitations. He resided in Bauru, São Paulo and spoke Portuguese. He could not afford a football in his early days and tried creating affordable substitutes for it. He practised with them. In his early days, he also played indoor football. According to him, the game was much more complicated than actual football because the indoor conditions demanded a higher level of pace and quick action. In his early days, he played for multiple clubs and teams, such as Sete de Setembro, Canto do Rio, São Paulinho, Amériquinha, and Bauru Athletic, on a very basic level. He also played in two São Paulo state youth championships. Indoor Football had a higher amount of confidence in Pele which further contributed to fuel his journey.

Professional Career of Edson Arantes do Nascimento

Pele was picked up by the national Football team of his nation, Brazil. He played with them in FIFA World Cup 1958 at the very age of 17 years. He scored a hat-trick there in the semifinal against France and two goals in the championship match against Sweden. The government and public of Brazil instantly recognised him for his exceptional performance which also received incredible appreciation from enthusiasts and associates of Football, all over the globe. Things only took a stroll forward for Edson and he was being acknowledged as a potential player. He was further invited to play for clubs and his contribution to Brazil in terms of sports started gaining a better perspective with every step ahead. After his very First FIFA World Cup, he was named the National Treasure of Brazil, officially by the Government. Pele was such a huge deal in terms of Football, that when he travelled to Nigeria to play there amidst a Civil War, there was a ceasefire for 48 hours. He was highly influential for people all around the globe.

Football Clubs

In 1956, Pele was picked up by the Santos Football Club. He was positioned at the inside left forward. He won nine São Paulo league championships with the team and Santos FC was highly satisfied with his inclusion as he was really an addition of a lot of value to the team. In the years, 1962 and 1963, he contributed the team with his stellar performances that helped them win the Libertadores and the Intercontinental Club Cups. He scored 643 goals for the club which happened to be the most for a Football Club until Lionel Messi broke his record in 2020. He played along Zito, Pepe, and other legendary players at Santos and his playing ability was highly crucial to the FC. He could not only hit the ball with extreme power and accuracy but also rightly judge the moves and tricks of the opposition players.

Pele for Santos FC
Pele for Santos FC

In 1974, he announced his retirement from club football and occasionally played for Santos. But soon, he was picked by the New York Cosmos in 1975. His inclusion in the club highly benefitted them. Even though he participated in friendly matches mostly and was not at his prime but the legacy and craze brought in many players for them, such as Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto, and more. The stadiums were filled out of craze for Pele. He led the cosmos until the exhibition match between Santos and Cosmos in 1977 where the Stadium was jam-packed and many celebrities and his close ones came in to witness him play for the last time.

It was a different game where in the first half of the game, he played for Cosmos, while in the second one, he played for Santos. In the second half, it started to rain and the Brazil Media termed it as, “Even the Sky was Crying“. His legacy remains in both the clubs and the exhibition match along with the gesture of playing for both sides signified that love is highly important and shall be prioritised.

Also Read: Lionel Messi Biography

International Career

At the age of 16, Pele played his first international match for the national team of Brazil in 1957. Even though his first match was a defeat, he ended up scoring a goal which makes him the youngest to score for the country. In 1958 World Cup, he was the youngest player ever to participate in a World Cup. He missed the first two matches due to a knee injury but he joined in the third match where he assisted on a goal. In the Semi Final against France, he scored a hat trick that led them to the finals. In the final match against Sweden, he scored two goals ending up with 6 goals in 4 matches. Brazil won the Cup and Pele was internationally and nationally recognised for his contribution to the team and their FIFA win. In the 1959 South American Championship, he was named the best player of the tournament. In the 1962 World Cup, after a short performance initially, Pele injured himself but nevertheless, Brazil won their second title.

National Treasure of Brazil
National Treasure of Brazil

In the 1966 World Cup, with Pele being the best football player in the world at the time and other legends such as Tostão, Garrincha, Jairzinho, Gilmar, Djalma Santos, and Gérson joining the Brazil Team, the expectations were very high. They only played three matches and were eliminated in the very first round. There were injuries to Edson due to brutal fouls and a horrible match referring. he decided that he will not participate in World Cups. But later in 1970, he reversed the decision in the qualifying matches to get back only to take Brazil to their third victory in the FIFA World Cups.

In 1971, he played the last match for Brazil. He was an asset to the team as when he played the match they managed to register 67 victories, 14 draws and only 11 losses. He and Garrincha made such an unbreakable strength for Brazil that they never lost a match when both the players were on the field.

Family, Wife, and Children of Pele

Edson Arantes do Nascimento has had a very tortuous personal life where he had been married thrice and has had a lot of relationships. He has fathered 7 children. His dating and married life have always been the centre of media attention. He married Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi in 1966 with whom he had two daughters named Kelly and Jennifer, and a son Edinho. The couple called off in 1982. Later in 1981, he allegedly dated TV presenter Xuxa. The news was not confirmed by any of them but it did benefit the career of the latter as she got enough publicity to be recognised to a larger extent than her outreach. In 1994, he married the psychologist and gospel singer Assíria Lemos Seixas. The couple took fertility treatments and they had twins named Joshua and Celeste in 1996. However, they divorced in 2008. Two years later at the age of 70, he started dating 39 years old Marcia Aoki. He revealed three years later that he intends to get married to her. It took 6 years for them to actually marry. They exchanged vows in 2016.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento and Family
Edson Arantes do Nascimento and Family

Pele has fathered three children out of wedlock. He has had affairs and one of them faced a lot of attention from the public as there was a trial involved. In 1964, his elder daughter named Sandra Machado was born to him post his affair with a housemaid, Alicia Machado. The whole issue has a public trial because he denied to accept her daughter or accept her. There were constant urges for DNA tests which did not go well with him. He delayed the process all the while till 1993 when the courts recognised her as his biological child posting DNA as evidence. Nevertheless, he denied accepting her as her child.

In 2001, Sandra demanded financial compensation since she was not receiving enough emotional, financial, and psychological support as his other kids did. However, the court rejected her plea. She even wrote a book by name, “The Daughter the King Didn’t Want” in order to express her feeling regarding the rejection from her father. In 2006, she passed away at the early age of 42 due to cancer and was outlived by two kids, Gabriel and Octavio, who were again not accepted by Pelé. He neither expressed any sorrow upon her death nor paid his respects, as per the news reports.

Pelé and Lenita Kurtz.
Pelé and Lenita Kurtz.

In 1968, Pelé had an extramarital affair with Lenita Kurtz. She was a journalist. She birthed a daughter named Flávia. Unlike Sandra, she was accepted by him as his daughter and he gave her full recognition.

Also Read: Cristiano Ronaldo Biography

Pele’s Age and Health Condition

Pele has had health issues throughout his life. However, he has always been very grateful for his body and the way his health has been in good times. He is 82 years old and is still going strong despite all the conditions over the years. Initially, news regarding his health popped up in 1977 when the Brazillian Media Houses reported that he had his right kidney removed. Later in 2012, he underwent hip surgery which was unsuccessful. Due to this, he was wheelchaired. It was in 2019 that he was hospitalised due to Kidney Stones causing Urinary Tract Infection and had to get surgery performed in order to remove them. His son confirmed in 2019 that he developed difficulty in walking independently and has to take support from a wheelchair or crutches.

Pele Former Brazil Footballer and Minister of Sports
Pele Former Brazil Footballer and Minister of Sports

Later in 2021, Pele fought a battle against Tumour and got it removed in September from his right colon. He was hospitalised and released as he reached the stage of chemotherapy. On the occasion of his 82nd birthday, he took to Instagram to pay his gratitude to God for his health. He said that he was extremely ecstatic and the 82nd year of his life is a gift from God and would be nice. Recently on 30 November 2022, he was admitted to the Albert Einstein Hospital. This happened due to a generalised swelling and cardiac issues. His daughter, Kely further announced that it was not surprising or sudden. She assured me that he is well and it is nothing serious that could lead to major worries.

Recently it was reported that he is suffering from bronchopneumonia and shall continue to be admitted to the hospital. Further, progressing on what his daughter confirmed, Pele has posted on Instagram to notify that he is on his monthly visit to the hospital and he is highly thankful for all the love and positive messages he is receiving.

Social Media Handles and Website

Edson Arantes do Nascimento is highly famous by the name Pelé. He is known as a legend who has contributed highly towards the journey of football in Brazil. The footballer is well followed on all social media handles where he posts about his personal life, the early days of his career, opinions, and achievements. Nearly 2.8 Million follow him on Twitter, 9.5 Million on Facebook, and 10.6 Million on Instagram. He also has a foundation by his name that aims to benefit such initiatives and organisations around the world that support and work towards the betterment and education of children bogged in poverty. The foundation has a precise webpage for fueling charity and providing awareness.

Official WebpagePele Foundation
Twitter Handle@Pele
Facebook PagePelé
Instagram Account @Pele
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