Profile of José Dias Herrera
In 1958, the 17-year-old was selected to play for the Seleção at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Pelé missed the fi rst two games of the tournament with a knee injury. He made up for lost time by scoring the game-winning goal in the quarterfi nals and a hat trick in the semifi nals. After Pelé’s two goals against Sweden in the fi nal, his teammates lifted the child prodigy onto their shoulders and hoisted their country’s fi rst Jules Rimet Trophy.
The 1958 World Cup revealed to the public the greatness of Pelé, in which this triumph was only the beginning. He became the youngest ever winner of a World Cup tournament and the youngest scorer in a World Cup Final. He later led Brazil to two more World Cup titles, in 1962 (Chile) and 1970 (Mexico). As of today, Pelé is the only football player to have won three World Cup tournaments and he remains the top scorer in the history of the Brazil National team with 77 goals.
In 1975, after 18 years with Santos FC where he won multiple international and national trophies, he joined the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (NASL). During his three years in New York, Pelé lead the Cosmos to the 1977 NASL title and brought great excitement to football and inspiration to young players in the United States. He capped off his career with an emotional farewell game on October 1, 1977, in a sold-out Giants Stadium, playing the first half with the Cosmos and the second half for Santos. Since his retirement from football, Pelé continues to make positive contributions to the game and travels the world to interact with his fans. Named one of the “Top 20
Most Important People of the 20th Century” (Time Magazine) and “Football Player of the Century” (FIFA), Pelé today maintains his commitment to the sport and to society by fulfi lling various roles as spokesperson, ambassador and philanthropist. In 2014, he was awarded the first ever FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in recognition of the dazzling career and achievements.