"Skinny little black boy", these are the words Pelé used to describe himself prior to his international debut for Seleção at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.
1958 would be the year in which Pelé's genius was introduced to the world. Prior to the campaign the 17 year old Pelé averaged a goal a game at Brazilian side Santos. Remarkable when you know that he was also injured; suffering from a knee injury, Pelé rigorously applied a boiling hot cloth to it in order to alleviate the pain.
Interestingly, he sparsely made the final cut. Even his team mate and Brazilian legend Garincha was unfavoured. The two players who would epitomise Brazilian football barely scrapped past selection and were left sitting on the bench for the first two group games.
Both players missed the opening game against Austria, which Brazil won 3-0. A scoreless draw against England meant Brazil had to beat the USSR to reach the knockout stages. Brazil coach Vicente Feola made the three changes that would alter the course of Brazilian, and world, football forever. having been xcluded from the squad in the opening games; Zito, Garrincha and Pelé were given a start against the USSR,
French football legend, Gabrial Hanot, described the opening 3-minutes of the game as the "greatest three minutes of football". In the first Garrincha bamboozled the defence and struck the crossbar, in the second Pelé hit the crossbar and in the third Didi cut the ball inside, sending three opponents for a hot dog and played a lovely outside of the foot pass to Vavá who fired the ball past Lev Yashin. Vavá scored again in the 74th minute, to win the game 2-0.
The youngest player to play at the World Cup, at the age of 17, was a crucial part of a winning formula that would define football for generations.
Their next opponents Wales offered up a tough test. Though this will always be the game in which Pelé would become an icon. Brazil overcame Waled by a goal to nil. Pelé was the scorer; with his back to goal he chested the ball onto his right foot, flicked the ball around his defender and prodded it into the bottom corner. His Brazilian team mates piled on top of him; celebrating inside the Welsh goal.
In the semi-final Brazil took the lead when Vavá opened the scoring with a half-volley controlled on the chest. Just Fontaine equalised for France taking the ball round the keeper and placing the ball high into the net. When Fontaine levelled the scoring the young Pelé grabbed the ball, darted back to the centre circle and screamed at his team mates: "Let's get started".
Didi scored a peach from outside the box; a shot that sailed into the top right corner. While the 'skinny little black boy' scored a second half hat-trick to seal a 5-2 victory and passage to the World Cup final, in a tournament where he wasn't really meant to feature.
The 1958 World Cup Final as the first to be broadcast live on television. Following Brazil's 5-2 victory over host's Sweden in the Final, Pelé blacked out and had to be revived by his team mates.
Brazil had won their first World Cup, a mere 7 years after the the 'skinny little black boy' had stolen peanuts from a warehouse in a desperate, unsuccessful, attempt to swap them for football boots.
Many regard Pelé as the greatest of all time. He went on to lift the World Cup a further two times with Brazil in 1962 and 1970; making him the only player to ever lift three World Cups. Pelé is the all-time leading goalscorer for his country with 77 goals in 92 international games.
And there you have it folks, the skinny little black boy from Brazil.
RIP Kick off at 3
This series offers tales from a time before the end of the 3pm kick off. When crowds were enormous, money wasn't a thing and loyalty was at the heart of the sport.