Pelé: This is how the football legend got the famous nickname he 'didn't like'

Pele – arguably the best footballer of all time – reportedly, never really liked being addressed by his nickname and adored his real name more.

Football legend Pele hated his nickname, here’s why
© Friedemann Vogel
Football legend Pele hated his nickname, here’s why

Brazil’s world cup hero Pele, peacefully passed away yesterday surrounded by his loving family. While the entire world is filled with the loss of a football legend, the famous footballer never really liked his world-famous moniker.

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Pele’s real name

The football legend’s real name was – Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Born in October 1940, Pele got his name after inventor Thomas Alva Edison as his parents got electricity shortly before Edison’s death. Although an ‘Edison’ fan, his parents dropped the ‘i’ from his name and spelt it as – Edson.

Edson was nicknamed Pele shortly after he began his schooling. History tracing back to the origin of the name fails to give the reason behind the existence of the name. Some interviews suggest Pele had no memory of how the nickname originated. While others, according to Mirror, suggest it was a mockery based on how Edson mispronounced the name of his favourite footballer, Bilé.

Edison is important

Regardless of the origin of the name, Edson always disliked being mentioned as Pele. His hatred was so much so that he even got into a fight with his friends during kickouts in the school playground. He once said in an interview:

I had a happy childhood. My name is Edson, then they started calling me Pele.
I didn't like it, I started arguing with everyone. I was a Thomas Edison fan.
What is Pele? Thomas Edison is important!

This comes after Pele believed that his nickname sounded like ‘baby talk’ in Portuguese. However, it was too late to disassociate his identity with a name that had stuck around for decades and even followed him into his hugely successful football career.

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Mirror: Pele's real name and why he hated famous nickname - which caused arguments with pals

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