New Delhi: Regarded as the greatest footballer ever, Brazilian legend Pele celebrates his 75th birthday on Friday.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento to a semi-professional striker Dondinho, Pele's career lasted from 1956 to 1977, scoring world record 1,283 goals. After making his club debut at 15 for Santos, he helped Brazil win three World Cup titles.
In the process, thanks to his aura, he established an unrivalled reputation as the ultimate ambassador of the world's most popular game. In 1969, Pele's presence in Lagos famously stopped the Nigerian civil war with a 48-hour ceasefire so that combatants could watch him play a friendly.
Football will not be football without him.
Let's read 10 awesome quotes which best define the legend, who was once infatuated with the prospect of becoming a pilot.
“The greatest player in history was Di Stefano. I refuse to classify Pele as a player. He was above that."
- Ferenc Puskas
“In some countries they wanted to touch him, in some they wanted to kiss him. In others they even kissed the ground he walked on. I thought it was beautiful, just beautiful.”
“Pele was one of the few who contradicted my theory: instead of 15 minutes of fame, he will have 15 centuries.”
- Andy Warhol
“Pele was the only footballer who surpassed the boundaries of logic.”
- Johan Cruyff
“I sometimes feel as though football was invented for this magical player.”
- Sir Bobby Charlton
Malcolm Allison: “How do you spell Pele?”
Pat Crerand: “Easy: G-O-D.”
- British television commentators during Mexico 1970
"Pele played football for 22 years, and in that time he did more to promote world friendship and fraternity than any other ambassador anywhere.”
- J.B. Pinheiro, the Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations
“My name is Ronald Reagan, I’m the President of the United States of America. But you don’t need to introduce yourself, because everyone knows who Pele is.”
- Ronald Reagan
“The difficulty, the extraordinary, is not to score 1,000 goals like Pele – it’s to score one goal like Pele.”
- Carlos Drummond de Andrade, celebrated Brazilian poet
“The greatest goal I ever scored was a one-two with Celeste – we named him Edson Arantes do Nascimento.”
- Dondinho, Pele’s father