He has been described as a genius, the best of the best, a player who gifted his skills to the whole world. Brazil legend Pele is the iconic sporting figure for a country that regards itself as the game’s spiritual home.
From Santos to three World Cup wins and New York Cosmos, here’s a look at his life in pictures.Where it all began: A teenage Pele jumps into the net after scoring for Brazilian side Santos, a club he served between 1956 and 1974, against Guarani of Paraguay in 1958Circa 1958: Pele with his family for a meal. His father, Dondinho, sits to his left, as his mother, Dona Celeste, serves the foodFirst World Cup triumph: A 17-year-old Pele leans in to goalkeeper Gilmar as Brazil celebrate beating Sweden 5-2 in the 1958 World Cup final. Pele scored two goalsCelebrations: Pele was a two-time World Cup winner by the age of 21 after Brazil defeated Czechoslovakia in the final in 1962Pele plays an acoustic guitar surrounded by Brazil team-mates before the team leaves for England to play in the 1966 World CupPele the keeper: The Brazil legend takes a turn in goal during a training session at Bolton during the 1966 World CupIconic image: Pele exchanges shirts with England’s Bobby Moore at the 1970 World CupHistory books: In 1970 Pele became the only footballer to win three World Cups after scoring in a 4-1 win over Italy in the final in Mexico CityPele meets Pele: A two-year-old from London, named Pele Jairzinho Johnson by his football-mad father Tony Johnson, meets his famous namesake before Santos face Fulham at Craven Cottage in 1973Farewell to a legend: Pele is carried off the pitch by his New York Cosmos team-mates after his final game in 1977. He is credited with scoring a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during a 21-year careerPele with Pope John Paul II during their meeting at the Vatican on March 18, 1978Film star: Pele appeared in the 1981 movie ‘Escape to Victory’ with Sylvester StalloneMixing with presidents: Pele and US President Bill Clinton play football in Rio de Janeiro in 1997