Pele - Spotlight on the great player

Pele - The greatest ever player?

Name: Edson Arantes Do Nascimento
Birthday: 23 october 1940
Place of birth: Tres Corações, Brazil
Position: striker
Nickname: Pele, O Rey, Perola Negra

Biography of Pele
Pelé with Luiz Inácio Lula da SilvaEdson Arantes do Nascimento, Honorary KBE, (born October 23, 1940), nicknamed Pelé (also written as Pele) (IPA [pɛ'lɛ]), is a former Brazilian football (soccer) player who won three World Cup medals and broke many records, also known as O Rei do Futebol (The King of Football). He is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time and was asked by FIFA to compile the list of the world's top 125 living footballers in 2004.

Often considered the complete midfield and attacking player, he was a prolific and clinical finisher and exceptional at dribbling and passing. Famed for his pace and strong shot, and exceptional heading ability for a relatively short man, he scored 1,281 goals in all matches during his career. Since his full retirement in 1977, he has served as an ambassador for the sport.

He was born in Minas Gerais, Brazil, the son of Fluminense Football Club footballer Dondinho. He was named after American inventor Thomas Edison, and did not receive the nickname "Pelé" until his school days. He originally disliked the nickname, but the more he complained the more he was called by it. Later in life, when reflecting that the world came to know the name, he stated his belief that it was chosen for him by God.[citation needed]

Growing up in poverty on the streets of Bauru, São Paulo, he could not afford a football and usually played with either a sock stuffed with papers or a grapefruit. He was given his first leather ball on his sixth birthday by his father's teammate, Sosa. At the age of eleven, Pelé was scouted by Brazilian legend Waldemar de Brito and was invited to join de Brito's amateur team, Clube Atlético Bauru. In 1956, Pele's mentor took him to the city of São Paulo, to try out for professional club Santos Futebol Clube. De Brito told the directors at Santos that the 16-year-old would be "the greatest football player in the world." Pelé was offered professional terms and scored four goals in his first league game. When the new season started, Pelé was given a starting place in the first team and, at the age of just sixteen, became the top scorer in the league. Just ten months after signing professionally, the teenager was called up to the Brazil national team. Video of the great man..

Football career

Pelé began his football career at Santos Futebol Clube, an industrial and port town in São Paulo State in eastern Brazil, at the age of 15. At 16 he became the top scorer in the league and a regular in the Brazil national squad. While at Santos, Pelé won 9 state championships, 6 championships, 2 Libertadores Cups (South American Cup) and 2 Intercontinental Cups, aided by players such as Pepe and Coutinho.

In the Football World Cup 1958, Pelé became the youngest ever World Cup winner in Sweden at 17 (uncapped before the world cup), scoring two goals in the final as Brazil beat Sweden 5–2 in Stockholm. He played in three more Brazil World Cup teams in 1962, 1966 and 1970, two of which Brazil won (1962 and 1970) although his contributions were limited in the 1962 and 1966 campaigns because of injuries inflicted by opposition players, the 1970 tournament in Mexico was to be Pelé's last. The 1970 team, featuring famous players like Rivelino, Jairzinho, Gérson, and Tostão, is often considered to be the greatest national team ever. Brazil defeated Italy 4–1 in the final, with Pelé scoring one and setting up Carlos Alberto for another. During his international career, Brazil never lost while Pelé and Garrincha were both playing.

Pelé's technique and deft touch combined with his dribbling skills and scoring ability have been universally praised. His most spectacular signature move was probably the "bicycle kick". After his retirement from Brazilian football on 2 October 1974, he joined the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. A reported $7,000,000 contract for three years made him the highest paid football player of the North American Soccer League.

During the three seasons playing for the Cosmos he was named in the annual NASL First Team: the 11 best players of a particular season. He was also named as the league's most valuable player in 1976. His lucrative contract for Cosmos meant that Pele had to play in the regular US-based NASL season but also travel the world playing many exhibition games. During the 3 years Pele played for Cosmos, he played matches in countries such as: China, Japan, Sweden, Bermuda and Uganda. In his final year as a professional player, the NY Cosmos won the 1977 NASL Championship. During that season Pele was joined by fellow Brazilian Carlos Alberto and "the Kaiser", Franz Beckenbauer.

He played his last game as a professional in a friendly match on October 1, 1977, in front of a capacity crowd at Giants Stadium against his old club, Santos; he played the first half with the Cosmos and the second half with Santos. The exhibition game was sold out six weeks beforehand. Pelé did appear in a few friendly games for the Cosmos after he retired in 1977. Due to falling attendance the Cosmos did try to bring Pelé out of retirement a second time, but he declined.

In 2002, Pelé scouted for Premiership Football Team Fulham FC.

After football
In 1995, President Cardoso appointed Pelé to the position of Minister of Sports. He left after he was allegedly involved in a bribery scandal. In 2005, Pelé drew international media attention due to the imprisonment of Edson Cholbi Nascimento, his son and ex-goalkeeper of Santos Futebol Clube, who was arrested in an operation to dismantle a drug gang in southeastern Brazil. Nascimento, the younger (then 35) was arrested along with some 50 other people after an eight-month investigation into a cocaine trafficking operation in the port city of Santos.

Pelé with Bill ClintonPelé is in fourth place on the list of all-time top goalscorers in international matches, with 77 goals, and equal third place with Ronaldo on the list of goalscorers in World Cup matches, with 12 goals. He was part of three World Cup winning teams, although he did not play in the 1962 final through injury and did not receive a medal. He ended his career with a total of 1281 goals in 1363 matches, becoming the highest goalscorer in professional football ever. However, less than half of these goals were scored on a professional basis, the rest being scored in the then-amateur Brazilian championship; hence, this record is not recognized by any official body. In his 92 appearances for the Brazilian team, he scored 77 goals.

He was awarded Brazil's Gold Medal for outstanding services to the sport, before becoming Sports Minister in 1995. In 1997, he was given an honorary British knighthood.

In 1992, Pelé was appointed a United Nations Ambassador for Ecology and the Environment.

In 1995, he was appointed an Ambassador for UNESCO at the Goodwill Games.

He was voted athlete of the century by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1999.

In December 2000, Pelé was named Footballer of the Century by a "Family of Football" committee appointed by FIFA, after a web poll favored Diego Maradona.

In the same year, Pelé received the Laureus World Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement Award from South African President Nelson Mandela.

Pelé is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Racism and Sport

Racism and Sport

Racism has long haunted popular sports such as football, but it can also occur on any pitch, course, track or arena. This can be especially true of sports such as golf or tennis in which racial minorities have a shorter professional history.

However, there is never any excuse for racist actions or chants pertaining to a particular sport and to say that racism only comes about when racial minorities become involved in a sport places the blame on the players rather than on those who actually perpetrate racism.

Confronting Racism in Sport

There have been many news stories in recent years regarding initiatives to eradicate racism in sport as well as official investigations into racist incidents involving players and fans. For example, the Show Racism the Red Card campaign ( ) is an anti-racist charity that tries to use professional footballers as role models to fight racism.

Not all efforts to confront racism in sport make the news. Every time one spectator reports the racist chanting of another, every time one player tells another that racist attitudes are not cool, and every time that players and spectators come together to congratulate the achievements of others regardless of their race, racism is confronted in sport.

However, no one should confront others about racism if they feel physically vulnerable or unsafe. Instead, observations should be made and a report can be filed at a later date. While reporting racism is important, staying safe and secure until such a report can be made is imperative.

Confronting racism in sport is important so that each player and spectator can enjoy a fair and equal experience.

Understanding racism, knowing how it pertains to sport and confronting examples of racism are all important to eventually ending racism in sport.

Andrew Flintoff - Test Cricketer

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has announced that he will retire from Test cricket at the end of the Ashes series. The injury-prone 31-year-old has been struggling with injury and form since he powered England to Ashes glory in 2005.

Since then, the Lancashire all-rounder has had four ankle operations and knee surgery since then and is battling to be fit for Thursday's second Test at Lord's. These ongoing injuries have forced Flintoff, who has played 75 Tests for England, claiming 212 wickets and scoring 3 658 runs (including five centuries), to set a date to quit."

My body has told me it's time to stop," Flintoff told the media.

"I've been through four ankle operations, I had knee surgery just a couple of months ago and had three jabs in my knee on Monday just to get me right for this Test so I took that as my body telling me that I can't cope with the rigours of Test cricket."

Since 2005 I've done two years when I've done nothing but rehab from one injury or another. Two of the last four years I've spent just in rehabilitation and I just can't keep doing it for myself, my own sanity, my family and also for the team - because they need to move on as well."

It's been something I've been thinking about for a while and I think this last problem I've had with my knee has confirmed to me that the time is now right."

For the next four Test matches I'll do everything I need to do to get on a cricket field and I'm desperate to make my mark."

I want to finish playing for England on a high and if you look at the fixtures going forward, the way my body is suggests I won't be able to get through that.

Thank you Andrew for all the enjoyment that you have given many people. You have influenced young and old with your exciting variety of cricket and I wish you well in your future after Test Cricket.

Tour de France - 2009

The winner of the 2009 Tour de France, will primarily all have to be a first-rate climber, because this year's course comprises 20 difficult mountain peaks and passes.

The most difficult climb, up the legendary Mont Ventoux at the edge of the Alps, has been scheduled for the next-to-last stage, the first time in the history of the Tour that a mountain stage has been programmed the day before the finish in Paris.

The 3,445-kilometre course also includes the first team time trial in four years and two short individual time trials, which will serve to make the mountain stages even more important to the outcome of the race.

The 96th running of the world's most prestigious cycling event which started on July 4 in the principality of Monte Carlo with an arduous 15-kilometre time trial through the hilly city of Monaco, and ends on July 26 on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

In all, this year's race will run through four countries - France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland - and the principalities of Monaco and Andorra.

The city of Barcelona will host a stage finish on July 6 and a stage start on July 7, only the third time the Tour has visited the Andalusian capital.

Barcelona marks "the southernmost destination in Tour history." According to Christian Prrudhomme the Tour director

But the plans and expectations of riders and spectators will no doubt be focused on the penultimate stage, and the climb up to the 1,912-metre-high peak of the Mont Ventoux.

An ascent of 21 kilometres at an average slope of 7.6 per cent, with strong, often violent winds on its final section, the mountain has been the scene of dramatic moments in past Tours.

In 2009, it will almost certainly be the decisive stage in the race.