Pele, one of the greatest footballers of all time, has died at the age of 82.
The former Brazilian Santos New York Cosmos striker died after being admitted to Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo after battling colon cancer since November 29.
Pele is Brazil’s all-time goalscorer with 77 goals in 92 international games. He is the only player to win the FIFA World Cup three times, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Pele’s official Instagram page states:
“During his journey, Edson captivated everyone with his sporting talent, stopped wars, carried out social activism around the world, and what he most believed was the cure for all our problems. I spread things, which is love.
“Your message in life will be a legacy for generations. Love and love forever. Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who passed away peacefully today.
“On his journey, Edson captivated the world with his sporting genius, stopped wars, carried out social activism around the world, and did what he believed most to be the cure for all our problems: Spreading love, his message today will be a legacy for future generations: love, love, love, forever.”
Pele’s daughter, Kelly Nascimento, shared a photo of multiple hands touching the Brazilian legend with the caption, we love you infinitely rest in peace. “
Since Pele’s death was confirmed, voices of condolences have poured in.
Neymar, Brazil’s joint top scorer alongside Pele, said: Somewhere in my life I read this phrase. But this beautiful sentence is incomplete. Before Pele, soccer was just a sport. Pele changed everything.
“He turned football into an art, into a pastime, and gave recognition to the poor, black people, especially Brazil. Football and Brazil have risen in status thanks to King! remains.Pele is forever!!”
Kylian Mbappe tweeted: “The King of Football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. Rip King.
The king of football has passed away, but his legacy will never be forgotten.
Lip King 💔👑… pic.twitter.com/F55PrcM2Ud
— Kylian Mbappe (@KMbappe) December 29, 2022
Santos, the Brazilian club he represented from 1956 to 1974, paid tribute to Pele by turning their Twitter display image into a crown.
They tweeted the same photo with the word “eterno” which translates to “eternity”.
— Santos FC (@SantosFC) December 29, 2022
In 1999, he was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee, and a year later he was named World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.
FIFA, the governing body of world football, has called him ‘The Greatest’.
Pele was born in 1940 in the municipality of Tres Colacoez, the son of Fluminense footballers Dondinho and Celeste Arantes.
He made his debut for Santos at just 15 and won his first Brazil cap at 16. He scored in his home country debut and remains Brazil’s youngest ever scorer 65 years later.
Pele is Santos’ all-time top scorer with 643 goals in 659 games, helping the Brazilian side win six league titles, including the Copa Libertadores in 1962 and 1963 and the Intercontinental Cup in 1962 and 1963. Contributed to earning multiple trophies.
Later in his career he moved to the New York Cosmos. Pele has become one of the stars of the North American Soccer League. He scored his 37 goals in his 64 games for the club and was named honorary president in 2010.
His total of 1,279 goals in 1,363 matches (including friendly matches) is recognized by Guinness World Records.
However, Pele is best remembered for his feat in Brazil’s famous yellow shirts.
He became one of the world’s first truly global black sports stars at the 1958 World Cup and is the only player in history to win that tournament three times.
Pele was admired by his peers. His three-time Ballon d’Or winner Michel Platini likened him to “God” and in 2015 Cristiano Ronaldo said:
Follow live tributes and reactions to Pele’s passing
A tribute to Pele, the greatest player in World Cup history
(Photo: Getty Images)