Team 2000
All-Time XI
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Brazil XI

(Edson Arantes do Nascimento)

Santos, New York Cosmos (USA)

What else can be said about him? Like Ali, Ruth or Aaron, he is synonymous with his game; so much weight has he carried as both player and promoter. A singularly great player, a one man highlight film, his career began for Brazil at the age of 16 and brought wonder to all who watched his creativity. He burst on to the international soccer scene in the 1958 World Cup at the age of 17. His ball skill and crafty agile two-goal performance in the final helped sink the host Swedes. After a disappointing injury side-lined him in the 1962 World Cup, he came back strong in the 1966 World Cup. But his reputation preceded him, and Pele became a marked man; he was taken down by Portugal and left with a devastating injury, and so too did Brazil's chances end in the Cup. Pele is remembered for all of his solo spectacular plays--scissors kick goals, his unrelenting perfect attack in the 1970 World Cup where he scored the first goal and assisted on the final goal to Carlos Alberto in Brazil's 4-1 Cup victory final over Italy. During the 70s, he gave credence to the NASL by joining the New York Cosmos and leading them to several league titles, and in many ways is responsible for soccer's popularity in North America. Wherever and whenever Pele played, the game flourished. He began from grass roots. His career planted those roots firmly throughout the world. The statistics are amazing but they don't matter in the end. What matters is that his charisma and skills grew the game world-wide.


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