Pele has passed away at the age of 82. Check out meaning behind ‘Pele’ as his real name is revealed

A football legend, one of the best players in the history of the sport and undoubtedly the best of his time.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento passed away after spending a month in the Albert Einstein Hospital.

The best footballer in history had one of the most famous nicknames in the world, and here we explain why Edson Arantes do Nascimento was called Pele.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pele, was born on October 23, 1940 and was a Brazilian footballer who played as a striker. He was the only player to win three World Cups, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

At the time, he was the youngest player to win a World Cup, at the age of 17.

Why is Edson Arantes better known as Pele?

For that you have to go back to his childhood. According to his uncle Jorge, when Edson Arantes was a little boy, they put him in as a goalkeeper in order to give his opponents an advantage.

Pele was so good as a striker that his opponents didn’t stand a chance.

When he made saves, some compared him to Bile, a goalkeeper his father had played with. They began to call him Bile until his nickname evolved into Pele for good.

Pele himself admitted that he had never liked this pseudonym, since his real name ‘Edson’ came from the inventor Thomas Edison and he was proud of it.


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He even came to blows with the schoolmate who invented it, which resulted in a two-day suspension from school.

He also said that since it means nothing in his language, he thought it was an insult but that changed once he discovered that, in Hebrew, it means “miracle”.

“Over the years I have learned to live with two people in my heart. One is Edson, who has fun with his friends and family; the other is the football player Pele,” he once said in an interview.

Why do they call him ‘O Rei’?

His name took second place, as he was called Pele from an early age. After his three World Cups he also earned the nickname ‘King’.

The 1958 World Cup that brought Pele‘s Brazil to prominence was the first time the nickname ‘O Rei’ arrived.

Paris Match, a French magazine, was the catalyst for this (‘Le Roy’ in French) after this title.