Pele’s four peak moments: World Cup and national duty

Highlights of the story

Pele is the only player to win the World Cup three times

Won my first win at the age of 17 in Sweden

His last was Mexico in 1970


“So maybe if I weren’t a football player, I think I would compose music and sing.”

After the recent biopic “Pele: The Birth of a Legend,” the only man to win the World Cup three times sat down with CNN’s Don Riddell to rank his most memorable achievements. :

1: Brazil national team debut, Copa Roca 1957

The most famous player in Brazilian history made his debut in a two-day friendly against Argentina on July 7, 1957, according to

Although Brazil lost 2-1, the 16-year-old came on as a substitute and scored his team’s only goal in the 32nd minute. Three days later, Brazil avenged their rivals with a 2-0 victory thanks to the Pele and Mazzola’s goals.

“I was chosen, which was great,” recalls Pele. “It’s like a dream.”

Read: Pele biopic brings Brazilians to tears

2: Brazil won the World Cup for the first time, 1958 Sweden

“When we went to Sweden, no one knew what Brazil was. They know about Argentina… Uruguay. It was a surprise for us,” recalls Pele, who, at 17 years and seven months, became the youngest player to play at a World Cup until Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside set that record in 1982.

“I thought the whole world knew about Brazil, but in Sweden nothing,” he added.

“Then when we won the World Cup, everyone knew about Brazil. I think this is the most important thing that I have given my country, because we were known a lot after that World Cup.”

Read: Pele the footballer who inspired Andy Warhol

Pele scored six goals in four games – including two in a 5-2 defeat of Sweden in the final.

Pele’s first goal was one of the greatest in World Cup history, when he passed the ball past a defender and volleyed homewhile the second was a back header past the keeper, ending the game.

“After the fifth goal, I wanted to clap,” Swedish opponent Sigge Parling said after the match, according to

3: Won the South American Military Championship with the Brazilian Army, 1959 Rio de Janeiro

“Very few people knew about it,” Pele recalls. “I won the world championship when I returned from Sweden; I was 18 years old and was chosen to be a soldier in Brazil.”

Pele captured that moment in his 2007 book, “Pele: The Autobiography,” in which he wrote that the only way to leave the army – even for a famous football player – was to fake an injury. , which the football directors in Santos laughed at.

Read: Pele auctions $600k replica of the World Cup

“Are you crazy?” they asked. “You guys just won the World Cup. The whole country knows that you are a shining example of good health. If you’re not too tall, then there might be a way. But not you. If there’s any 18-year-old Brazilian to do military service, it’s you.”

“Then I went to the army and we won the tournament,” said Pele, enjoying a 2-1 win over Argentina in the final (although Pele received a red card, the first of his career. he.) “This is very important to me; I now understand that I must do my duty.”

4: Won the 1970 World Cup in Mexico

Considering what he had achieved before his 30th birthday was approaching, Pele had thought about retiring before the 1970 tournament – but he changed his mind at the last minute after telling his team that Santos about his plan.

“I said Santos was the champion, I was going to retire,” he recalls. “Then I said ‘No, I’m going to play the World Cup. This will be my last World Cup, may God give me once again the gift to play well.’”

Forced to qualify for the World Cup because Brazil failed to defend the title in 1966, Pele scored six goals in six games.

But he saved his best performances for the World Cup itself, where his four goals made him player of the tournament, was limited by an assist for Carlos Alberto in the final against Italy – one of the finest goals in World Cup history. (Younger teammate Jairzinho has scored seven goals.)

“We won the World Cup, and I think in my sporting life (that’s the pinnacle), there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

Italian defender Tarcisio Burginch aptly summed up Pele’s magic: “I told myself before the game, he’s just like everyone else. But I was wrong.”

The moment that Pele No The score also goes down in World Cup history – England goalkeeper Gordon Banks saves the Brazilian’s mighty header Considered by many to be the greatest save of all time.

What is your favorite Pele moment? Let us know on CNN FC’s Facebook page

Like this story? Learn more at

ws1521 New Pele no sig _00000928.jpg

Why Pele’s biopic made him cry


News5s: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button