Pelé’s Greatest Moments: A Look Back at His Most Memorable Goals

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Pelé’s Greatest Moments

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Pelé who died on 29 December 2022 was a legendary football player who won Brazil’s national team Santos the FIFA World Cups held in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He has gifted his people and the world some of the memorable moments of football, both national and international. It was Pelé’s iconic goals that make the matches memorable. His extraordinariness has won him several titles, awards, and plaques. Pelé is the football inspiration of all and the legacy that he left behind will be respected for generations to come. In this article, we will be discussing Pelé’s memorable matches where his goals became a feat unattainable by many.

Pelé’s Memorable Goals in Matches  

Teenager Pelé’s Goal against Corinthians of Santo Andre

Pelé made his professional soccer debut at the age of 15 in 1956 as a Santos player against the Corinthians of Santo Andre. He helped his team with a 7-1 score. The goalkeeper of Corinthians’ later made a business card that read “the first goalkeeper to ever concede a goal to Pelé.”

Description of Teenager Pelé’s goal Corinthians of Santo Andre

Pelé found the net after coming to the game in the second half. Through his goal, he was tapping home a rebound in the box. It was memorable because it was a senior team debut and the performance was impressive helping him score the first goal in his professional prolific career.

Pelé’s Favourite Goal

Pelé’s favorite goal on August 2, 1959 and one of his memorable matches weren’t caught on film. However, an effort was made to recreate the moment digitally through the narration of the events by Pelé himself, fans, players, and journalists who were a witness to the goal at Rua Javari stadium, Sao Paolo. The match was played against Juventus of Sao Paolo. To honor his goal, Juventus erected Pelé’s statue and a plaque at the stadium.

Description of Pelé’s Favourite Goal

Pelé upon entering the box flicks the ball to a defender. He then lobbies the ball over a second defender who was standing at a close range to the penalty spot. Without letting the ball hit the ground, he flicked it over to the third defender and the goalkeeper, finally making it into the goalpost.

Pelé’s First FIFA World Cup Goal in the Quarterfinals 1958

Pelé’s first FIFA World Cup in 1958 in Sweden was nothing less than extraordinary. He was only 17 when he led his team Santos to victory in the World Cup quarterfinals. In Pelé’s own words, “I have good and bad stories from World Cups. The ’58 World Cup was a dream. I was a kid. Nobody was expecting it. Nobody believed in us. I remember some reporters saying: ‘how can they take a 17-year-old kid to the World Cup finals,”. The difficult game was in its 66th minute against Wales when Pelé hit the first goal. It couldn’t be broadcasted because several quarterfinals were taking place simultaneously and only one game could be shown live.

Description of Pelé’s first World Cup Goal in the Quarterfinals 1958

Pelé was facing back to the goal and manipulated the ball with his chest before flicking it with his right foot. He then spun and fired the ball through a challenge posed by defender Stuart Williams into the far post.

Pelé’s First FIFA World Cup Goal in a Final

Pelé’s first FIFA World Cup goal in the Finals against Sweden was a remarkable one. His first goal made Brazil lead 3-1 against the opponents. He scored 6 goals in the first World Cup.

Description of Pelé’s First FIFA World Cup Goal in a Final

He made the magical goal in the first World Cup Finals by lobbying the ball past a defender inside the area before poking a firm shot close to the penalty spot.

Pelé’s 1000th Goal

Pelé made his 1000th goal at Rio de Janeiro’s magnificent Maracanã Stadium on November 19, 1969. Upon achieving this milestone at 29 years, many fans invaded the pitch for which the game came to a stop for 20 minutes. Teammates, opposition, and the audience swarmed the soccer legend and paraded him shoulder-high around the Maracanã Stadium. Even rival fans gave a standing ovation to Pelé. The game was held against Vasco de Gama. Although Pelé was against penalty kicks as he believed, “A penalty is a cowardly way to score”, his 1000th goal was made by a penalty kick.

Description of Pelé’s 1000th Goal

Pelé was fouled to set up the penalty and then made a deft finish into the bottom right corner in the 78th minute helping Santos win with a 2-1 win against Vasco da Gama.

Pelé’s Gol de Placa

Gol de Placa, Plaque Goal or “outstanding goal” fetched Pelé a commemorative bronze plaque at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium. The plaque reads, ” “On this pitch, on March 5 of 1961, Pelé scored the most beautiful goal in the history of the Maracana.”

It was one of the magical goals of Pelé that wasn’t recorded on tape. The match was against Fluminense which took place on March 5, 1961.

Description of Pelé’s Gol de Placa

Pelé received the ball from Dalmo close to the penalty area and it seemed the ball was stuck to his foot. He began a run through the entire length of the field crossing past his opponents, passing, deceiving, escaping, and dribbling before hitting the football right into the net, finishing off goalkeeper Castilho. Santos won a 3-1 against Fluminense.

Pelé’s Last Goal of New York Cosmos

Pelé played for his childhood club Santos for 18 years and retired but he came back later and joined New York Cosmos in 1975 for a $1.67-million-a-year contract. Pelé scored 37 goals in 64 NASL (North American Soccer League) matches. His last goal as part of the New York Cosmos was one of the most difficult moves in the game of soccer.

Description of Pelé’s Last Goal of New York Cosmos 

The match was against Miami Toros which was played at Yankee Stadium. It was one of the few bicycle kicks of Pelé’s matches. He was present on the right flank after which Pelé crossed over into the penalty area. He then projected his body into the air and kicked the incoming ball high above while letting himself descend to the ground and the memorable goal was made.

Pelé’s Second Goal at the Intercontinental Match 

His second goal at one of the memorable matches at Lisbon against Benfica was the most alluring one. Pelé’s team Santos won the Intercontinental match 3-2 on October 11, 1962.

Description of Pelé’s Second Goal at the Intercontinental Match

Pelé with the help of his body was successfully elusive as he approached the first defender. He then moved on into the area leaving behind two other opponents and finally with his left foot shot the most impressive goal.

Pelé’s Final Goal

Pelé’s farewell match was one of the memorable matches of his football career. The friendly game was between Santos and New York Cosmos. Pelé played half for both teams. His powerful goal during the match resulted while he played for New York Cosmos.

Description of Pelé’s Final Goal

While playing for Cosmos, Pelé ended the farewell game with a free kick from 30 yards to tie the score at 1. New York Cosmos won a 2-1.

Pelé’s Goal Performance in the Copa America

Brazil failed to win the South America Football or Copa American Championships but he impressed everyone with his 8 goals and was even named player of the tournament.

Final Thought!

Pelé succeeded because his eyes were on the ball. We love Pelé because our eyes followed him. Pelé’s intentions had greater clarity and his tactics and otherworldly skills helped him make and break football records. His terrific 1,279 goals in 1,363 games made him a part of the Guinness Book of World Records. These huge number of goals are a testimony that Pelé proved the toughest competition for many. Although Pelé is no longer with us, he remains a hero who has ennobled the lives and touched the hearts of all of us. All Hail the King!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Who is the king of football of all time?

Pelé was the king of football. He was also referred to as O Rei meaning “the king”.

Which player has the most World Cups?

Pelé won three World Cups in the years 1958, 1962, and 1970.

Who is known as the black pearl? 

Pelé is referred to as the Black Pearl because a black pearl is very rare to find. Similarly, Pelé was an extraordinary sportsman who is hard to find in this world.

What is Pelé’s biggest accomplishment?

Pelé is the only player to have won the World Cup thrice.

When did Pelé last play?

Pelé’s farewell game took place at Giants Stadium in New Jersey on October 1, 1977.

What is Pelé’s legacy?

Pelé won the first World Cup in 1958 when he was a teenager. He is the only sportsman to have won it three thrice. Pelé scored 77 goals in 92 international matches for Brazil. He is also the first soccer player to have become a cultural icon and a global star.

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