From the Inside Flap
Even people who don't know football know Pelé. The best of a generation of Brazilians universally acknowledged as the most brilliant group of footballers ever to play the game, he won the World Cup three times and is Brazil's all-time record goalscorer.
But how did this man -- a sportsman, a mere footballer, like many others -- become a global icon? Was it just by being the best at what he did? Or do we respond to some other quality?
Born on 23 October 1940 to a poor family in Três Corações, Brazil, the boy who would become known as Pelé grew up playing football on the streets, taught by his father, who had been a decent player himself until an injury cut short his career. For extra cash Pelé worked as a shoe-shine boy, and when he joined Santos FC at the age of fifteen his mother had to make him a pair of long trousers -- until then he'd only ever worn shorts. His impact was immediate: his mentor, Waldemar de Brito, told the Santos directors the boy he'd discovered would be the greatest football player in the world, but despite their initial scepticism it soon looked like he might be right.
Pelé went on to set numerous records at both club and international level. Now, the world's greatest footballer gives us the full story of his incredible life and career. Told with his characteristic grace and modesty, but covering all aspects of his playing days and his subsequent careers as politician, international sporting ambassador and cultural icon, PELE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY is an essential volume for all sports fans, and anyone who admires true rarity of spirit.