A long, defeatingly modest autobiography from Edson Mantes do Nascimento--the great soccer player better known as Pele. He played on three World Cup championship teams, averaged better than a goal a match in the prohibitively low-scoring sport, and accumulated twice as many career points as any other player. And his story is a movie-script-inspiring rise from dismal poverty in the Brazilian interior--playing barefoot with a ball made of rags--to multi-million dollar contracts and world-wide recognition. Throughout, however, Pele comes off as a boring, almost saintly figure, whether he's disclaiming the invention of the bicicleta kick, praising his opponents, or organizing daily prayer meetings during World Cup competition. Worse, all this understatement reads as if he'd been noodling around, armed with a dated Portuguese-English phrasebook and total recall, while his collaborator was off who knows where. A lack of neighborhood customers for his boyhood shoeshine business becomes ""a demonstrated inability of Rua Rubens Arruda to furnish sufficient custom""; instead of the importance of playing time, ""a player's value is enhanced only to the degree that he has a chance to demonstrate his skills."" This stilted, baroque language makes what could have been a valuable personal look at a phenomenal career just plain tiresome.