Year
1969
Month Day
November 19

Soccer legend Pelé scores 1,000th goal

Brazilian soccer great Pelé scores his 1,000th professional goal in a game, against Vasco da Gama in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium. It was a major milestone in an illustrious career that included three World Cup championships.

Pelé, considered one of the greatest soccer players ever to take the field, was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Tres Coracos, Brazil, in 1940. He acquired the nickname Pelé during his childhood though the name has no meaning in his native Portuguese. When he was a teenager, he played for a minor league soccer club in Bauru in Sao Paulo state and in 1956 joined the major league Santos Football Club in the city of Sao Paulo, playing inside left forward. Two years later, he led the Brazilian national team to victory in the World Cup. Pelé, who was only 17 years old, scored two goals to defeat Sweden in the final.

Pelé was blessed with speed, balance, control, power, and an uncanny ability to anticipate the movements of his opponents and teammates. Although just five feet eight inches tall, he was a giant on the field, leading Santos to three national club championships, two South American championships, and the world club title in 1963. Under Pelé's leadership, Brazil won the World Cup in 1958, 1962, and 1970. In 1970, Brazil was granted permanent possession of the World Cup’s Jules Rimet Trophy as a tribute to its dominance. On November 19, 1969, Pelé scored his 1,000th goal on a penalty kick against Vasco da Gama. Eighty thousand adoring fans in Maracana stadium cheered him wildly, even though Santos was the opposing team.

Pelé announced his retirement in 1974 but in 1975 accepted a $7 million contract to play with the New York Cosmos. He led the Cosmos to a league championship in 1977 and did much to promote soccer in the United States. On October 1, 1977, in Giants Stadium, he played his last professional game in a Cosmos match against his old team Santos.

During his long career, Pelé scored 1,282 goals in 1,363 games. In 1978, Pelé was given the International Peace Award and in 1993 he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Since retiring, he has acted as an international ambassador for his sport and has worked with the United Nations and UNICEF to promote peace and international reconciliation through friendly athletic competition.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

President Lincoln Delivers Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In fewer than 275 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded ...read more

Soviets launch counterattack at Stalingrad

The Soviet Red Army under General Georgy Zhukov launches Operation Uranus, the great Soviet counteroffensive that turned the tide in the Battle of Stalingrad. On June 22, 1941, despite the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, Nazi Germany launched a massive invasion against the ...read more

An arrest warrant is issued for Michael Jackson

Rumors had swirled around Michael Jackson since the first public allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor child were aired amidst a 1993 civil lawsuit that was eventually settled out of court. A decade later, on November 19, 2003, an embattled Jackson prepared to face ...read more

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” opens in theaters

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a film about a group of patients at a mental institution, opens in theaters. Directed by Milos Forman and based on a 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey, the film starred Jack Nicholson and was co-produced by the actor Michael Douglas. One ...read more

Patty Hearst out on bail

Patricia Campbell Hearst, a granddaughter of the legendary publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, is released on bail pending the appeal of her conviction for participating in a 1974 San Francisco bank robbery that was caught on camera. Hearst’s ordeal began on the night of ...read more

Reagan and Gorbachev hold their first summit meeting

For the first time in eight years, the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States hold a summit conference. Meeting in Geneva, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev produced no earth-shattering agreements. However, the meeting boded well for the ...read more