Sporting Legends Of The 20th Century: Pelé.

909 words - 4 pages

PeléThe story of Pelé is rather interesting. A rags-to-riches story, so to say. Brought up from humble beginnings in the tiny Brazilian town of Tres Coracoes, life was tough from the word go. From an early age he learnt to defend and take care of himself, shining shoes on the roadside to help support his impoverished family. Even through the toughest of times, he showed a persistence and determination far beyond his years.It is this persistence and determination that helped mould what would become one of the greatest soccer players of all time - the man who set the game of soccer alight and helped elevate the sport to the massive event it is today.Born on the 23rd of October 1940 an only child, Pelé found solace playing 'futbol' on street corners and in alleyways, barefoot and with a bundle of rags as a ball. He soon began playing for the local junior team, where he stood out with his skills and determination. In the words of Waldemar de Brito, a former Brazilian international who began training Pelé at an early age: "he was blessed with speed, poise, great balance, vision, the uncanny ability to control the ball superbly, and to sharp shoot powerfully with either foot and with his head".Much of Pelé's professional career was spent with Brazilian club Santos, for which h made his debut at the tender age of 15. He would remain with them for eighteen years, in that time leading them to 11 state championships, 6 Brazilian Cups and 2 World Club Championships. It was not long before he was called up to play for Brazil, at only seventeen. That memorable first game was a match that both shocked and amazed the soccer world, announcing the arrival of a prodigy, and confirming Brazil as the new force to be reckoned with:February 22nd 1958 - Brazil vs Italy. Seven minutes into the second half, and a scrawny 17-year old steps onto the pitch to replace a tiring Felipao. I feel the crowd surge all around me. The rhythmic beat of the Conga drums steps up a notch as 80,000 ecstatic spectators begin to chant.Within seconds of coming on, he is already dominating the play. I watch in awe as he seemingly plucks the ball out of midair, controlling it expertly on his thigh, then flicks it over his head, spins around and volleys an unstoppable shot past the goalkeeper. Twenty minutes and two equally brilliant goals later, he is at it again. This time he has the ball glued to his feet. He skips past one Italian defender. Then another. Then another. He dummies left, swerving past another bewildered opponent, and taps the ball to a delighted teammate. GOAL!!!He went on to score...

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