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Pelé, the global soccer legend who popularized the sport on an international level, died on Thursday at the age of 82. Now, people around the world are looking to find out more about the life of the beloved athlete through his autobiography, which jumped to the top of bestseller lists following his death.
In “Why Soccer Matters: A Look at More Than Sixty Years of International Soccer,” published in 2015, Pelé tracks his rise to stardom on the field — from the poverty-stricken streets of Sao Paulo to becoming a three-time World Cup winner. He also touches on his work campaigning for human rights, particularly helping impoverished children in Brazil, which earned him an appointment as a UN ambassador and an honorary knighthood from the British monarchy.
Throughout his decorated professional career, which he began seriously at age 15, Pelé has broken a number of records. His 1,279 goals in 1,363 career games is a Guinness World Record; he’s the only player in the world to have won three FIFA World Cups; and during his playing days, he was considered the highest-paid athlete in the world.
Following his 1958 World Cup victory, Pelé was nicknamed The King (“O Rei”) and was widely considered the best player of the sport. The unofficial distinction stuck throughout his entire career, until he retired in 1977 and continued to serve as a worldwide ambassador of the sport until his death.
To learn more about Pelé’s inspiring life, both on and off the field, order his bestselling autobiography below: