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1 Pelé is 66 years old and lives in São Paulo. He scored 1,281 goals in 1,377 games in the course of his 21-year career. He holds the record for hat tricks (3 goals in a single game), totaling 92. In 1959 he achieved his season scoring record of 127 goals in 104 games. A top scorer's average is 30.
2 In the early sixties Brazilian President Jânio Quadros declared Pelé "an official national treasure." This meant he was not for sale, a nonexportable commodity, thereby preventing wealthy European clubs from signing the player.
3 In 1968 Pelé traveled to Africa to play exhibition games in Nigeria, which was at war with the secessionist state of Biafra. In order for the players to travel between the two countries, a two-day truce was called.
4 When Pelé was lured out of retirement by the New York Cosmos with a $2.8 million contract, average attendance grew from 3,500 in 1974 to 34,000 in 1977. His final match that year drew 75,000 people to New York's Giants Stadium.
5 Pelé has many nicknames, including Gasoline (for his famous energy), the Executioner, and Black Pearl. On June 22, 1970, a headline in the Sunday Times in London read, HOW DO YOU SPELL PELE? G-O-D.
Ben Arogundade is creative director of Gloria Books, the publisher of Pele, a limited-edition 720-page homage to the star ($7,000, gloriabooks.co.uk).