He made his senior team debut on 7 September 1956 at the age of 15 against Corinthians Santo Andre and had an impressive performance in a 7–1 victory, scoring the first goal in his prolific career during the match.
Pelé's "electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals" made him a star around the world, and his teams toured internationally in order to take full advantage of his popularity.
Since retiring in 1977, Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador for football and has made many acting and commercial ventures.
He earned extra money by working in tea shops as a servant.
Taught to play by his father, he could not afford a proper football and usually played with either a sock stuffed with newspaper and tied with a string or a grapefruit.
In 2010, he was named the Honorary President of the New York Cosmos.
Pelé has also been known for connecting the phrase "The Beautiful Game" with football.
According to Pelé, indoor football presented difficult challenges; he said it was a lot quicker than football on the grass and that players were required to think faster because everyone is close to each other in the pitch.
Pelé accredits indoor football for helping him think better on the spot.
In his autobiography, Pelé stated he had no idea what the name means, nor did his old friends.