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YouTube Gold: Pelé’s Greatest Hits

The man was a lyrical genius on the pitch

Pele Plays
 Brazilian footballer Pele playing for Brazil, circa 1958.
Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

There are a few athletes who stand so far above the rest in their sport that they become mythic. Think Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth. Guys like that.

When you think about athletes like that, Pelé comes to mind rather quickly. He completely redefined his sport - soccer here in America but football everywhere else - and was largely responsible for Brazil developing the concept of The Beautiful Game.

Pelé, who was born into deep poverty, was not beloved at first because much of what he did was considered foolish, out of bounds. It took some time for people to realize that it wasn’t just flashiness but also very difficult to defend.

He was able to do things that most people could never dream of. Take for instance the bicycle kick. He didn’t invent it - it was apparently invented about 100 years ago or more in Chile or Peru -but watching Pelé do it was beyond glorious.

Here are 10 of his greatest goals. The man was simply irrepressible.