The nickname he hated and for which he even hit a classmate: where did the name Pelé come from?


With Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the football world has lost one of the greatest players of all time. But no one knows him by that name. He became world famous under his nickname Pelé. And that by a classmate.

Kaka, Ronaldinho… You don’t have to go far back to find Brazilian footballers who have a nickname that is not their official name. That was also the case with Pele. His real name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, a name that is nothing like his nickname. But where does Pelé come from?

READ ALSO. Football world in mourning: Brazilian legend Pelé passed away at the age of 82

From a classmate, it turns out. That boy thought it was funny how Edson failed to remember the name of his idol, Santos goalkeeper Bilé (real name: Jose Lino, ed.)to pronounce correctly. “When I was three or four years old, my father Dondinho took me to training sessions,” Pelé said in 2006. The guardian. It was there that he called out the name Bile several times, and from the mouth of young Edson it sounded more like Pile. Or Pelé, as that classmate began to mock him.

IN MEMORIAM. Pelé, the shoeshine boy who became football’s first world star

Initially he was not happy with that nickname. “I thought that sounded awful, I was so proud to be named after inventor Thomas Edison, so I wanted to be called Edson.” But there was no stopping it. “As a child I even hit a fellow student because he called me Pelé. It got me suspended for two days,” he once confessed. “It only got worse after that, because then the other kids noticed that I was getting excited about it. And so pretty much everyone started calling me that.”

READ ALSO. Ex-Red Devils about their matches against and with Pelé: “Suddenly he woke up. We were finished in fifteen minutes”

He never got rid of that nickname. In the end, he says he resigned himself to it and even started to love the name.

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