Pele

When we think of football, we think of Pelé! This football legend played professionally in Brazil for 20 years (and later in New York), helped his country win three World Cups and is considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time. Learn a little about his life and career and then enjoy our collection of colouring pages, worksheets and printables with the kids.

Pele dribbling past a defender

Fun Facts:

  • In his early years, Pelé honed his skills on the streets of Bauru with a football made of a sock stuffed with newspaper, or a grapefruit!
  • It is said that, during the Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s, the two sides agreed a 48-hour ceasefire so that they could watch Pelé play an exhibition match in the capital, Lagos!
  • Pelé's final game was an exhibition match between his two teams, the New York cosmos and Santos, in 1977. He played for both sides!
  • This incredible footballe scored 1,281 goals in 1,363 games over his career.
  • Pelé composed the entire soundtrack of the movie, "Pelé", released in 1977.
  • Pelé nickname as a boy was "Dico". It is thought that his friends started to call him Pelé because his favourite footballer was Vasco da Gama ‘Bile’, and that he had mispronounced his surname. Apparently he hated the new nickname at first - he said it sounded like babytalk in Portuguese.
  • Pelé became the youngest player ever to score an international goal in a match against Argentina in 1957 - his first international game. He was also the youngest player to score a goal in a World Cup, the youngest player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup, and the youngest player in a final of the World Cup!

Pelé Quotes:

"Everything is practice."

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do."

A Short Biography of Pelé

Edison Arantes do Nascimento was born in 1940 in Três Corações, Brazil, moving as a young boy to Bauru. His father was a would-be, struggling soccer player, and Pelé grew up in poverty. He practised his soccer skills with friends, using a home-made football in the streets of the city. While a child he earned the nickname Pelé.

Aged 11 Pelé joined a youth squad coached by an ex-Brazil player. When he was 15 his coach took him to try out for Santos, a professional Brazilian football club, telling the club "This boy will be the greatest soccer player in the world". He was signed up immediately, and scored his first professional goal before he even turned 16 years old! He was soon recruited into the Brazilian national team, too.

Pelé was average-sized but had speed, balance and vision. He had extraordinary control of the ball and was able to shoot powerfully with either foot. And his headers were legendary!

Pelé first came to international attention in the 1958 World Cup, when the 17 year old stunned the world with 3 goals in the semi-final and 2 goals in the finals, helping Brazil win the competition.

Pelé became hot property! Eventually the President of Brazil declared him a "national treasure" so that it would be harder for European clubs to entice him away!

Pelé played in 2 further World Cups, in 1962 and 1966, but in both was injured (possibly intentionally in 1966) and forced to sit out. In 1970 he was back on form and, with a great team alongside him, led Brazil to another victory. He retired in 1974, but was enticed briefly back into the soccer world by the New York Cosmos in 1976, helping to increase the popularity of the sport in America.

Pelé's eventual retirement in 1977 didn't slow him down! He was a Goodwill Ambassador with UNICEF, a United Nations ambassador for ecology and the environment, and Brazil's Extraordinary Minister for Sport.

In 1999 Pelé was named FIFA's "Co-Player of the Century", a title he shared with the Argentinian Diego Maradona. He was also named "Athlete of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee. It was a fitting recognition for this outstanding football player and inspirational man.

Our Pelé Activities

Design an Award for Pele

Design an Award for Pele

Pele won his first World Cup for Brazil when he was only 17 years old and has gone on to win many awards throughout his life.  Can the children design their own medal for him using our worksheet?

Learn to Draw Pele

Learn to Draw Pele

Kids can learn to draw Pele, perhaps the most famous footballer of all-time, with our printable step by step tutorial.

Pele Booklet

Pele Booklet

Print and fold this little booklet (using the instructions here) and use it to record what you've learned about Pele. Why not build up a miniature library on famous footballers or sports personalities?

Pele Colouring Page

Pele Colouring Page

Many regard Pele as the greatest footballer of all time. Here's a fun cartoon-style picture of him for the kids to colour in.

Pele Comprehension

Pele Comprehension

Read our short biography of Brazilian superstar footballer Pele, and then answer the questions...

Pele Factsheet

Pele Factsheet

Here's a printable version of our short biography of Pele. Print it and use it with our other activities when learning about this great footballer!

Pele Interview Worksheet

Pele Interview Worksheet

Imagine you had the chance to interview the man many consider as the greatest footballer ever - Pele. Think about what your audience would like to hear, and write some good open questions to encourage your guest to talk...

Pele Newspaper Writing Prompt

Pele Newspaper Writing Prompt

The kids can use our newspaper writing prompt to describe one of the three times Pele won the World Cup with Brazil, or to write about one of his other achievements. 

Pele Notebooking Page

Pele Notebooking Page

We have two notebooking pages for writing about Brazilian football legend Pele, both illustrated with his portrait and one with space for your own picture.

Pele Poster

Pele Poster

Here's a fun poster of Brazilian football legend Pele, ready to print and display.

Pele Quote Poster

Pele Quote Poster

This inspirational poster featuring a quote by Pele is perfect for displaying in classrooms, sports clubs or at home to help encourage any young sportspersons. 

Pele Quote Worksheet

Pele Quote Worksheet

Can the children write about this quote by the famous Brazilian footballer Pele, explaining what they think it means, then rewrite it in their own words too?

Pele Story Paper

Pele Story Paper

Many people think Pele is the greatest footballer of all time! The kids can use our fun story paper to write about his incredible life and achievements, and colour in his picture too (perhaps he's wearing his famous Brazil football kit?).

Pele Story Paper 2

Pele Story Paper 2

Did you know that Brazilian footballing legend Pele is the most successful league goal scorer in the world? Write down some more facts about him on our story paper, featuring a photo of the great man himself.

Pele Timeline Worksheet

Pele Timeline Worksheet

Can the children use our Pele timeline to fill in the important events in the life of the Brazilian footballer?

Pele Worksheet

Pele Worksheet

Learn about the famous Brazilian footballer, Pele, and fill out our fun printable worksheet.

Pele Writing Page

Pele Writing Page

Write about Pele, perhaps the most famous footballer of all time, with our printable writing page.

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