Sao Paulo, Brazil
Brazilian football legend Pele, who won three World Cups and became the sport’s first global icon, has died at the age of 82.
“We owe everything we are to you,” daughter Kelly Nascimento wrote in an Instagram post, below an image of the family holding Pele’s hand. I love you. Rest in peace.”
Pele was admitted to a Sao Paulo hospital in late November due to complications related to a respiratory infection and colon cancer. Last week, hospitals said his health had taken a turn for the worse as his cancer progressed.
For over 60 years, the name Pele has been synonymous with football. He is the only player in history to win the World Cup on his four occasions and win three times, but his legacy goes far beyond trophy wins and an astonishing scoring record.
“Just as Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint, I was born to play football,” Pele famously said.
Tributes to the football legend are pouring in. Pele’s first club, Santos FC, responded to the news on Twitter with the word “forever” shared next to an image of the crown.
Brazilian footballer Neymar said Pele ‘changed everything’. In an Instagram post, he wrote: He drew attention to the poor, blacks, especially Brazil. Thanks to the King, football and Brazil have risen! ‘ he added.
Pele’s life in pictures
Portuguese star forward Cristiano Ronaldo sent his condolences to Brazil in an Instagram post, writing, “A mere ‘goodbye’ to the eternal king Pele expresses the pain that is currently engulfing the entire football world. is not sufficient for
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe said of Pelé’s death:
Former English footballer Geoff Hurst wrote: on Twitter In his Pele memoirs, he described the late star as “without a doubt the best footballer I’ve played against (Bobby Moore is the best footballer I’ve played with). Pele is still the greatest player of all time and I am proud to be on the pitch with him. Thank you RIP Pele.”
Brazil’s president-elect Luis Inácio Lula da Silva paid tribute to Pele on Twitter, saying, “Few Brazilians have named our country like him.”
“Although the language is different from Portuguese, foreigners from all corners of the globe quickly found a way to pronounce the magic word ‘Pele’,” Lula added.
A spokesperson told CNN that Pele’s wake will be held at Vila Belmiro, the headquarters of Santos FC in the state of São Paulo. The date and time of the event has not yet been announced.
Pele was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in 1940 in the landlocked city of Tres Corazós, about 150 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro, before his family moved to the city of Bauru, São Paulo.
The origin of the nickname Pele is unknown even to the footballer. He once wrote in the British newspaper The Guardian that his classmates at school likely made fun of him for ruining another player, Bille’s nickname. Whatever the origin, the moniker has stuck.
As a child, his first taste of football was to roll socks and rags into a ball and play barefoot. This was a humble beginning that would grow into a long and fruitful career.
But when he first started playing games, his ambitions were modest.
“My father was a good footballer and scored a lot of goals,” Pele told CNN in 2015. i wanted to be like him
“He was famous in Minas Gerais, Brazil. He was my role model. .
As a teenager, Pele left home and started training at Santos, scoring his first goal for the club before his 16th birthday. He made 638 appearances for the club and scored 619 goals, but is best known for his feat on Brazil’s iconic yellow jersey.
The world got its first glimpse of Pele’s dazzling abilities when he made his World Cup debut in 1958 at the age of 17. He scored Brazil’s lone goal in the quarter-final against Wales, scored a hat-trick in the semi-final against France, and scored in the final against hosts Sweden.
“When Pele scored his fifth goal in the final, I honestly wanted to applaud him,” said Sweden’s Sigvard Perling.
For Pele, a standout memory of the tournament was putting his country on the sporting map.
“Everybody knew about Brazil when they won the World Cup,” he told CNN’s Don Liddell in 2016.
1962 also saw them win the World Cup, but an injury kept Pele out for the second half of the tournament. Further injuries hampered his next campaign in 1966 as Brazil exited the competition after the group stage, but redemption was made in 1970.
“Pele said we would win. If Pele said so, we were going to win the World Cup,” Brazil co-captain Carlos Alberto said of the tournament.
With Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostan, Rivelino and, of course, Pelé, the team is considered one of the greatest teams ever assembled.
MeIn the final, they beat Italy 4-1. Brazil scored perhaps the most famous World Cup goal of all time in a dominating move across the pitch that involved nine of his ten outfield players on the team.
It ended with Pelé teeing up Alberto, who stabbed the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The Brazilian jogo bonito (beautiful game) mantra has never been better encapsulated.
Considering retirement before the 1970 World Cup, Pelé scored his own goal in the final and scored a total of four goals during the tournament.
“Before the match, I told myself that Pele was a real person, just like us,” Italian defender Tarcisio Brunic said after losing the final. I realized I was wrong.”
The tournament capped off Pele’s World Cup career, but he didn’t spend any time in the spotlight. In 1975, he signed a $1.67 million annual contract in the United States with the New York Cosmos.
With his exceptional personality and exceptional dribbling skills (a trademark of his game), Pele helped Cosmos win the North American Soccer League championship in 1977 before officially retiring from football.
The league, which attracted big names such as Giorgio Chinalia and Franz Beckenbauer, was short-lived and eventually disbanded in 1984. Around the world, however, Pele’s influence persisted.
He remained in the public eye through his endorsement deals and as an outspoken political voice advocating for poor people in Brazil. He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for many years, promoting peace and support for vulnerable children.
Health problems dominated the rest of Pele’s life. He moved with the help of a walker.In September 2021, he underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his right colon.
Pele’s cancer treatment continued for the past year. With his Cup of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, he was hospitalized in Sao Paulo in November and football around the world was flooded with support from his community and beyond.
Debates will inevitably rage on whether Pele is the greatest player of all time. Whether Pele’s achievements can be compared to Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel his Messi or Diego his Maradona who have broken football records in the last 15 years. The late Argentinian star who captivated the football world in the 1980s and 90s.
In 2000, FIFA jointly named Maradona and Pele as Players of the Century, and for some, the outright winner of the award should have been obvious.
“This discussion about the player of the century is ridiculous,” said Zico, who represented Brazil in the decade following Pele’s retirement. “There is only one possible answer and that is Pele.
It’s unclear exactly how many goals Pele has scored in his career, and his Guinness World Records tally is under scrutiny, with many being scored in informal matches.
In March 2021, he congratulated Portugal’s Ronaldo on breaking the “record for goals scored in all competitions” with 767.
But there is no doubt that Pele was, and will continue to be, football’s first global superstar.
“Even if I die one day, I’m happy because I did my best,” he told The Talks online magazine.