How great was Pele at football?

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Pelé, one of the greatest soccer players ever, scored 1,281 goals and won three World Cups in his 22-year career. He began playing at a young age in Brazil and used his fame to support humanitarian causes. He retired in 1974 but played for the New York Cosmos and received numerous awards for his work with UNICEF and the environment.

Retired soccer star Pelé is widely regarded as one of the best athletes to ever play the ‘beautiful game’. So popular was he, in fact, that in 1967, the opposing sides in Nigeria’s Biafran War declared a two-day truce so he could watch Pele play football in Lagos. But how good was he, by the numbers? Pelé’s statistics are quite impressive: in his 22-year career, he scored 1,281 goals and won three World Cups. In his first full season with Brazilian soccer club Santos, he scored 32 goals. He was only 17 years old. Born into abject poverty in Brazil in 1940, Pelé began playing soccer with the boys in his neighborhood. He played for a youth league and then signed with Santos when he was 15. He scored his first goal for the club before his 16th birthday. Since then Pele has used his fame to support numerous humanitarian causes. He was named FIFA Co-Player of the Century in 1999.

More about Pele:

Pele announced his retirement in 1974, but then decided to play for the New York Cosmos. He played his last game – an exhibition match against Santos – in 1977.
In 1978, Pele was awarded the International Peace Award for his work with UNICEF.
Pelé served as Brazil’s Minister Extraordinary for Sport and was appointed United Nations Ambassador for Ecology and the Environment.

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