Pele was Brazil and Brazil was Pele. During the 1958 World Cup Tournament which Brazil won, Pele lead all Brazil scorers with 6 goals and all of which came in the knockout round. He scored 1 against Wales in the quarter-finals, a hat trick against France in the semis, 2 against Sweden in the finals, and he was only 17 years old! He was the youngest player to ever score an international goal when he netted his first goal for Brazil at age 16 against rival Argentina.
After the victory, European clubs looked to recruit the superstar, however, Brazil intervened and declared Pele to be an official national treasure and any trade would be forbidden.
Pele was so recognized and internationally respected that a cease-fire to the Biafran War was declared in 1967 so that Pele could visit both sides of the front!
Pele was instrumental in starting the North American Soccer League playing for the New York Cosmos in 1975 and leading them to the 1977 NASL championship in his final season. During his final professional game in 1977, in front of a 75,000 plus crowd at the Meadowlands, Pele led a chant of “Love! Love! Love!” and then proceeded to play the first half with the New York Cosmos and the second half with his old Brazilian team, Santos, the Cosmos’ opponent. Pele wore his #10 for both teams.
Many people agree that nobody has meant more to a sport than Pele has meant to soccer. Soccer is Pele and Pele is soccer!