Pele’s most iconic moments for Brazil, Santos and New York Cosmos

Widely renowned as one of the greatest players in history, Pele dazzled the beautiful game with his prolific goalscoring and profound success for Santos, Brazil and New York Cosmos.

Lots of words come to mind when you consider the great Pele's influence on the game.

For Brazil, he was a pioneer - he inspired Selecao to three World Cup triumphs alongside a host of iconic Brazilians, and remains the only player to do so.

For Santos, a stalwart - winning 21 trophies and becoming their all-time goalscorer with 643 goals.

In America with the New York Cosmos Pele was an icon, blessing the world of soccer with his ability.

With 1,282 reported goals in 1,363 games, the clinical forward undoubtedly paved the way for the plethora of Brazilian attacking talent we see today.

From playing against the great Eusebio to capturing international glory for the first time, 'The King' enjoyed an iconic career very few could imagine achieving.

Winning the 1958 World Cup

June 29, 1958

Despite being ruled out through injury in the tournament's group stage, Pele was instrumental for Brazil throughout the knockout rounds.

His goal against Wales in the quarter-finals had made him the youngest scorer in World Cup history before a hat-trick helped his side overcome France in the semi-finals.

As the rain lashed down on the Rasunda Stadium in Sweden before the 1958 World Cup final, the world was about to be stunned by a brilliant Brazilian youngster.

Aged just 17, Pele became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final as Brazil defeated Sweden 5-2 to capture the first of their five historic victories in the competition.

Bagging a brace with an assist for good measure, Pele had announced himself on the world stage - a stage he would go on to dominate for years to come.

Scoring his 1,000th official goal

November 19, 1969

Although recent disputes have arisen over the validity of the figures, the record books do show when Pele scored the 1,000th goal of his career, and it caused a 20-minute pitch invasion.

Having missed a number of chances to hit the milestone in his previous two games, the iconic forward's historic moment finally came in a Brazilian league match against Vasco De Gama.

In a location as fitting as the Maracana, the Santos star remained calm to score from the penalty spot as pandemonium ensued in the stands.

Despite playing for the opposition, he was met by rapturous applause from the Vasco De Gama fans who joined Santos in unison to celebrate his monumental feat.

He was held aloft by his teammates, fans and opponents as they proudly paraded him around the pitch.

Capturing the Copa Libertadores with Santos

July 28, 1962

Aside from his impressive trophy haul with the national side, one of Pele's greatest achievements came when he led Santos to their first Copa Libertadores title.

After breezing through the preliminary and semi-finals, a spectacular campaign from Santos saw them set up a final encounter with Penarol.

Santos would meet the Uruguayan outfit across three legs after the two teams could not be separated in the first two.

Pele scored two goals in the play-off match as they beat their opponents 3-0 to cap one of the greatest nights in the club's history.

Among his bulging trophy cabinet, Santos' first Libertadores is certainly one medal that will shine brighter than others.

1959 Copa America

While Pele failed to win the Copa America in the 1950s - his performance in one of the tournaments in particular was a cut above the rest.

Just 12 months after winning his first World Cup, he was undeniably the player of the tournament as Brazil missed out by one point to Argentina.

Despite his side's agonising failure, he still managed to score eight goals in the competition.

His tally included a double against Chile and a hat-trick against Paraguay. However, an earlier draw against Peru - in which Pele also scored - proved costly as Argentina topped the table.

Joining the New York Cosmos

June 10, 1975

After announcing his retirement from the game just months prior, Pele shocked the world by agreeing a record-breaking move to US outfit New York Cosmos.

He signed a $2.8million contract with the Big Apple club, making him the world's highest paid athlete at the time.

Pele registered over 60 goal contributions in three seasons with the Cosmos, leading them to a number of titles.

His reputation in the States saw the club break their attendance record on three separate occasions, with 77,691 the highest mark in 1977.

Winning the 1970 World Cup

June 21, 1970

Twelve years after his first tournament triumph in Sweden, Pele returned to the Selecao set-up to guide them to World Cup glory once more in Mexico.

Once again a pivotal cog in one of the greatest national sides ever, he dazzled against Czechoslovakia, Romania and England as they cruised through the group stages.

With the likes of Rivellino, Jairzinho and Tostao frequently firing for the Brazilians, he was less influential in the tournament's knockout rounds.

However, in the final, Brazil dismantled a robust Italian outfit 4-1 with Pele opening the scoring with a powerful header.

He remains the only player in soccer history to capture three World Cup winners' medals.

Playing against Eusebio

Despite both dominating the game on their respective continents, Pele and Portuguese great Eusebio only faced off on three occasions - in 1962, 1966 and 1975.

Having won their first Copa Libertadores title in 1962, Santos met Benfica in the first meeting of the two legends.

Pele would go on to score five goals across two legs against the Portuguese outfit, one of which saw him nutmeg Eusebio en route to a spectacular solo effort.

The second meeting between the two would come at the 1966 World Cup with the Portuguese talisman in much better form, netting twice as Pele suffered a heartbreaking knee injury.

The two would meet almost a decade later as the Minutemen took on the Cosmos. In a game marred by crowd trouble and controversy, Eusebio scored the game's opener.

110 Goals in 1961

In another stellar achievement from his world-class career, Pele embarked on an untouchable scoring spree in 1961, netting 110 goals.

He achieved his tally in just 74 games as Santos won the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A and the Campeonato Paulista. 

Aside from his domestic dominance in his home country, the iconic talisman also found the net in a host of high-profile friendlies against Inter Milan, Hamburg, Roma and Benfica.

Although many consider Lionel Messi's feat of 91 official goals in 2012 to be more impressive, Pele had set the precedent for the Argentine's brilliance 50 years prior.

Latest news