Pele

There are few more recognisable athletes in the world than Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known to the world as Pele. While the three-time FIFA World Cup winner is frequently hailed as the greatest player ever, it's the combination of his mesmerising on-the-pitch skills and dignified demeanour off it that have made the Brazilian among the most popular sportsmen of all time. But Pele's affability should not overshadow his remarkable career achievements. He remains the only player to have ever won the FIFA World Cup three times and is one of just four men to have scored in two FIFA World Cup Finals. He found the net an astonishing 77 times in 91 matches for his nation. In 1959 he scored 127 goals. In 1970, Pele led Brazil in what was arguably the greatest tournament performance ever. Alongside fellow Selecao icons Jairzinho, Rivelino, Carlos Alberto and Tostao, he displayed the devastating blend of artistry and ruthlessness that guided Brazil to their Azteca destruction of Italy in the final. It was Pele's Brazil in a nutshell: beautiful but brutal and ultimately glorious.

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