Pele Career Achievements, Records & Stats
Through countless goal records and glory with club and country, legendary Brazilian player Pelé transcended football to become the sport’s first worldwide superstar.
Pelé passed away in December 2022 at the age of 82 after a battle with cancer.
Since starring for Brazil and Santos as a teenager, Pelé has been recognised as one of the greatest footballers of all-time.
Nicknamed ‘The King’, the Três Corações native accumulated records and honours throughout his lengthy career, contributing to a CV rivalled by only a handful of athletes across all sports.
Accompanying his achievements on the field, Pelé’s affable personality added to the appeal of a man admired all over the world.
Let’s take a look at his career statistics and achievements.
Pelé’s Brazil Stats and Achievements
- Pelé scored 77 goals in 92 caps for Brazil and won three World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970).
- Pelé was Brazil’s all-time leading goal scorer until Neymar equalled his tally at the 2022 World Cup.
- Pelé won the World Cup Golden Ball in 1970 after receiving the Best Young Player and Silver Ball honours at the 1958 edition.
- No other player has won the World Cup on three occasions.
- Pelé’s tally of 10 World Cup assists is the most of all-time, and his six assists in the 1970 edition are the most in a single tournament.
- Only four other players have scored in two World Cup finals.
- Pelé is one of five players to score in four different FIFA World Cup tournaments.
- Pelé is the only player in football history to score 25 international goals before his 20th birthday.
- Pelé is the youngest World Cup goal-scorer ever and the only player to score in a World Cup before turning 18.
- Pelé is the youngest player to play, to score and to score twice in a World Cup final, all of which occurred when Brazil faced Sweden in 1958.
- Pelé is also the youngest player to score twice in a World Cup semi-final and the youngest player to start a World Cup knockout match.
- Pelé scored seven hat-tricks for Brazil, the last of which came against Belgium in 1964.
- Pelé is one of two players to have scored in two World Cup finals for winning teams.
- Pelé’s tally of three assists in World Cup final matches (one in 1958, two in 1970) is the most of all-time.
Pelé’s Santos Stats and Achievements
- Pelé scored 643 goals in 659 appearances for Santos between 1956 and 1974.
- Pelé won the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A on six occasions between 1961 and 1968.
- In 1962 and 1963, he won the Copa Libertadores, and finished as top scorer in the same competition in 1965.
- Across club and country, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have scored more goals than Pelé.
- During his time with Santos, Pelé won the Campeonato Paulista on 10 occasions, and was top scorer in 11 separate seasons.
- Pelé is Santos’ all-time leading goal scorer and appearance maker.
- Pelé’s tally of 58 goals in the 1958 Campeonato Paulista season is the most by any player in a single season.
- Pelé won the Bola de Prata in 1970, an award given to the best player in the Campeonato Brasileiro.
Pelé’s Awards and Honours
- Pelé was voted World Player of the Century by IFFHS in 2000.
- Reuters named Pelé Athlete of the Century in 1999.
- TIME Magazine included Pelé in the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.
- In December 2000, FIFA named Diego Maradona and Pelé the joint-winners of FIFA Player of the Century.
- Pelé received the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.
- World Soccer included Pelé in their Greatest XI Of All Time in 2013.
- In 2021, IFFHS named Pelé in their All-Time Men’s Dream Team.
- Pelé received the Best Player in History Award in 2022.
- Pelé’s tally of 92 career hat-tricks is the most of all-time.
- In 1959, Pelé scored 127 goals in a calendar year (including friendlies), which remains a record.
- When France Football re-evaluated the pre-1995 Ballon d’Or awards in 2016, Pelé was recognised as a deserving winner in 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1970.
- Pelé also received an honorary Ballon d’Or in 2013 for his service to football.
- Pelé received the Knight of the Order of Rio Branco in 1967.
- Pelé was given the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
- The United Nations elected Pelé a ‘Citizen of the World’ in 1977.
- In 1991, Pelé was awarded the National Order of Merit by the government of Brazil.
- The International Olympic Committee gave Pelé the Olympic Order in 2016.
- In 1997, Pelé was in the first group to win the Marca Leyenda alongside Michael Jordan, Michael Doohan, Miguel Indurain and Garry Kasparov.
Pelé’s Impact on US Soccer
- Pelé scored 66 goals in 107 appearances for New York Cosmos after coming out of retirement to move to the Big Apple.
- Pelé had a massive impact in raising the profile of soccer in the United States.
- Following his arrival in New York, several other superstars joined the NASL.
- Giorgio Chinaglia accompanied Pelé at the Cosmos, and they were later joined by Carlos Alberto and Franz Beckenbauer.
- Johan Cruyff, George Best, Bobby Moore and Eusebio also had stints in the US, elevating soccer in the country, and laying the foundation for what later became MLS.
- Pelé played his final career match at Giants Stadium with Moore and Muhammad Ali in attendance.
- The match was broadcast around the world and Pelé netted the final goal of his career with a first-half free-kick.
- Pelé won NASL MVP in 1976 and topped the league’s assist charts.
- The Cosmos retired Pelé’s number 10 in 1977.