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Pele

The Black Pearl

Pele wore uniform number 10 and played left inside forward. With his agility, speed and incredible ball-handling skills, he revolutionized soccer, instigating a creative, all-out attack that became the Brazilian style and was much more exciting for casual fans than the traditional defense-oriented game. During Pele's career, he scored five goals or more in a game on six occasions, scored four goals in 30 games, and had 92 games with three goals. Three times he scored more than 100 goals in a season.

Pele acquired several nicknames during his career: "Gasoline" for his energy, "The Executioner" for his brilliant ability to finish an offensive drive and put the ball in the net, and, most popularly, "The Black Pearl," because he was precious. On the field, his joy at playing the game he loved was obvious and infectious. Pele would salute the crowd after scoring a goal and, on many occasions, the goalkeeper he had just beaten would wave or bow to him. If a keeper stopped his shot, Pele would often shake hands with him. When he scored, thousands of fans would stand and chant his name.

Pele had countless tricks to get around defenders. He developed incredible shots, including a swerving shot from 40 yards out that would curve away from the goalie at the last second, and a drop shot that would appear to be going over the crossbar and then dip into the net. Often, defenders would be all over Pele, and he would be fouled and harassed. After years of tolerating this treatment, he began to retailiate and draw yellow cards hinmself. After an Argentinian player repeatedly kicked him and spat at him, Pele kicked back.

The first soccer player to become a millionaire, Pele was overwhelmed with offers to make personal appearances and sign business deals, but he refused to endorse cigarettes or liquor. "I know that I have influence on youngsters and I don't feel that I want them to think if I should endorse these products I want them to use them," he said, according to Marcus's book.

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Famous Sports StarsSoccerPele Biography - Kicking The Sock, National Prodigy, The Black Pearl, The King Of Soccer, Chronology - SELECTED WRITINGS BY PELE: