Sao Paulo, Dec 29 (EFE).- Pelethe nickname of the Brazilian star Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who died this Thursday at the age of 82, has its origins in a diction problem and in the figure of an idol from his childhood: the goalkeeper José Lino da Conceição Faustino ‘Bilé’.
‘Bilé’ was the goalkeeper for Vasco de São Lourenço, a modest team from the state of Minas Gerais, which also included the father of ‘O Rei’, João Ramos do Nascimento ‘Dondinho’.
As a child, Edson, who at that time was called ‘Dico’ by his family, liked to play goalie and, every time he made a save, he would yell to himself “Segura, Bilé!” (“Grab it, Bilé!”), Inspired by his father’s partner.
However, due to his young age, since he was barely four years old, he still could not pronounce the name ‘Bilé’ correctly, and the friends with whom he played on the streets of Bauru, in the interior of Sao Paulo, believed that he said something resembling ‘Pele’.
The nickname caught on among his baseball colleagues, who came to call him ‘Pelé’, something that at first deeply irritated the man who would later become the best player of all time.
The young Edson had no choice but to accept the nickname with which he would be known throughout the world and which became a global brand that continues to this day.
It was in the city of Bauru where Pelé took his first steps in the world of football.
From the streets he went on to defend the colors of various non-professional teams from that town in São Paulo, until he joined the ranks of Bauru Atlético.
There he was trained by the former player of the Brazilian national team Waldemar de Brito, who went down in history as the “discoverer of Pelé”.
De Brito quickly realized that ‘Pelé’ was up for more flights and took him to Santos.
In 1956, the young striker began his career at the club that would lead him to world stardom and where he would complete most of his sports career.
With the albinegra shirt, he played 1,116 games and scored 1,091 goals, according to the accounts of the São Paulo team, which he would leave in 1974 to head to the New York Cosmos, where he would retire three years later.
Pelé, the only soccer player on the planet who has won three World Cups (Sweden 1958, Chile 1962 and Mexico 1970), died this Thursday from complications of colon cancer that he was diagnosed with in September 2021. EFE