Pelé: career in pictures

By Rob Jones and Thomas Oakey Rex Features
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The life and times of one of the world's greatest footballers

Career highlights of Brazilian footballer Pelé See Gallery

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known to millions of fans as Pelé, enjoyed one of the most glittering and memorable football careers of all time.

Born in the east Brazil city of Três Corações, the former Santos and New York Cosmos is remembered for terrorizing defences all over the globe and for winning the World Cup three times - more than any other player.

Above, Pelé scores in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy.

Click or swipe the image above to relive the striker's career in pictures.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

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First World Cup

Pelé is perhaps best remembered in the yellow jersey of Brazil, and he made his debut for the Seleção in a 2-1 defeat to fierce rivals Argentina on July 7, 1957, scoring his country's only goal.

His first World Cup came in 1958 in Sweden. Despite arriving in Europe with a knee injury, Pelé - still just a 17 - took the tournament by storm. Wearing the number 10 jersey, he scored six times overall, including twice in a 5-2 defeat of the hosts in the final.

Above, Pelé jumps for the ball in the 1958 World Cup final.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

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World Player of the Century

After scoring an astonishing 1,281 goals in all competitions in a 22-year career, Pelé is rightly remembered as one of the greatest players of all time. Indeed, in 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, while the International Olympic Committee named him the athlete of the century the same year.

Above, Pelé is pictured with another of the game's greats in 1963, the late Portugal striker Eusebio.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

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A great player for his club, too

As well as beating the world on an international level, Pelé enjoyed major success domestically too. He spent most of his club career at Brazilian side Santos, where he scored 643 goals in 656 games and won two Copa Libertadores as well as six Brazilian league titles.

Above, Pelé plays for Santos against one-time US team the Oakland Clippers in 1967.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

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Success in 1962 and 1970

Pelé won his second World Cup medal in 1962. Although Brazil won the tournament, Pele played in only two of his country’s matches after suffering injury against Czechoslovakia.

He was unable to have an impact at the 1966 World Cup because Brazil were eliminated in the group stage but he returned with great success four years later at the tournament in Mexico.

He was part of one of the greatest Brazilian teams ever, featuring players such as Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto, and Brazil reached the final against Italy.

Above, Pelé evades a challenge from England's Alan Mullery in the group stage of the 1970 World Cup.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

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1970 World Cup final

The crowning moment came in the final, when he scored the opening goal in a 4-1 defeat of Italy.

Above, the striker is held aloft as Brazil players celebrate the country's third World Cup win.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

Matias Rezende Gervasio Baptista AP Photo
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Last match for Brazil

The striker ended his glittering international career a year later, playing his final game in the famous yellow shirt against Yugoslavia on July 18, 1971, in Rio de Janiero.

His full international record is 92 games, 67 wins, 14 draws and 11 losses, with 77 goals.

Above, Pelé lines up before the game against Yugoslavia.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

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American adventure

He finished his club career in the US, after retiring from Brazilian club football in 1974 and signing on to play for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League for three years between 1975 and 1977.

He helped his team to win the championship in 1977 and in the same year he retired from football. His last ever match was an exhibition game against his former club Santos.

Above, Pelé celebrates a goal for the New York Cosmos in 1977.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

Nelson Antoine AP Photo
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An ambassador for football

After retiring from playing, Pele has worked to promote football. For a while he was the Extraordinary Minister for Sport in Brazil, before taking up the position of Honorary President at the recently revived New York Cosmos, as well as making appearances at several global football events.

Outside of the sport, he is most famous for his work as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Above, Pelé shares a joke with Neymar during Santos' 100th anniversary in 2012.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

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Honorary award

In January 2014, Fifa gave Pelé the inaugural Ballon d'Or Prix d'Honneur (pictured), a special award for him because he had won three World Cups but never an individual Fifa award.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement

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Lifting the World Cup

The superstar will undoubtedly be a part of the 2014 World Cup, as the tournament returns to Brazil for the first time in 64 years.

Above, Pelé holds the current World Cup trophy.

From our partner: Watch Pelé star alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a new Emirates advertisement