(CNN Spanish) — There is no doubt that Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known to the world as Pele, was one of the best football players in history, and the proof is his illustrious time with the Brazilian team.
From his debut with the “Canarinha” in July 1957 (when he was only 16 years old) until his retirement from the national team in July 1971, Pelé played 92 games, scoring 77 goals and providing 32 assists, according to statistics. According to the specialized site Transfermarkt.
Of those 92 matches, the Brazilian star played 14 in four FIFA World Cups: Sweden 1958, Chile 1962, England 1966 and Mexico 1970.
Pele showed his best version in Sweden and Mexico, making his team the world champion. In Chile, he was injured in only the second game and missed the rest of the competition, but even so, Brazil became champions again. Meanwhile, in England it was a most unfortunate tournament for the South Americans, who had very difficult matches and were plagued by injuries, with which they were eliminated in the first round despite being favourites.
In short, the Brazilian football legend was a three-time world champion, scoring 12 goals and 8 assists in 14 games he played in FIFA’s top competition.
What are Pele’s best goals in the World Cup?
FIFA named five goals as Pele’s best goals in the World Cup:
- In fifth place, one of two goals scored by Pelé on the third matchday of the group stage in Mexico 1970 against Romania. It was a great goal with an instep from the free kick; The Brazilian star fired in a powerful shot that hit the European goalkeeper’s right post.
- At the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, Brazil played in the semi-finals against France, a match in which Pele broke down with a hat trick (three notes). One of those goals ranks fourth in the FIFA count: the footballer received the ball with his right thigh in the crescent of the large area, lifted the ball and then volleyed it close to the French goalkeeper’s right post.
- Brazil made their debut at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico against a Czechoslovakian team and did so rightfully so: a 4–1 victory with Pelé scoring in the 59th minute. This score ranks third on the FIFA list; The Brazil star achieved it in fine style after getting his chest down from a cross in the wide area, then letting the ball bounce once before hitting the Czechoslovak goalkeeper’s right post with his stride.
- In 1970, the “Canarinha” achieved football’s highest glory when they beat Italy 4–1 in Mexico. Pelé gave Brazil the win in the 18th minute with an impressive header past Italian goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi at the left post. This entry is second on the list of goals by a FIFA football legend.
- The Brazilian team won the 1958 World Championship, defeating local Sweden 5–2. Pelé, who became the youngest player to score at the World Cup in that competition (a record he still holds), shone in the final against Sweden with two goals, one of which was a work of art and Pelé Number one of the FIFA World Cup. In scoring, the Brazilian star, only 17 at the time, chested the ball deep inside the area, then gave a wonderful cap to the defender and defined the ball without bouncing.