Brazilian football champion, three-time World Cup winner and one of the greatest athletes of the last century died Thursday. he was 82 years old.
The ‘Beautiful Game’ bannerman had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The medical center where he was admitted last month said he died of multiple organ failure from cancer.
“We are who we are because of you,” daughter Kelly Nascimento wrote on Instagram. “We love you forever. Rest in peace.”
His agent, Joe Fraga, confirmed his death: “The King is dead.”
Widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the world of football, Pele has been the top scorer for Brazilian club Santos and the Brazilian national team to impress fans and enchant opponents. Spent nearly 20 years.
His grace, athleticism, and mesmerizing moves keep players and fans on their toes. He created a fast, sleek style that revolutionized the sport. A samba-like talent epitomized his native elegance on his field.
He has taken Brazil to the heights of football and has become a global ambassador for his sport with his journey kicking socks stuffed with newspapers and rags in the streets of São Paulo state.
In conversations about football’s greatest players, only the late Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are mentioned alongside Pele.
According to various sources, Pele’s total goals list anywhere between 650 (league matches) and 1,281 (all senior matches, some low-level matches) when counting sets of different matches. It has been.
Nicknamed ‘The King’, he was introduced to the world at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden at the age of 17, making him the youngest player in the history of the tournament. After scoring his two goals in Brazil’s 5–2 victory over the host country in the final, he was carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates.
Though injuries limited him to just two games when Brazil retained the world title in 1962, Pele was a symbol of his country’s victory at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. He scored the goal in the final, scoring the final goal with a casual pass to Carlos Alberto in a 4-1 win over Italy.
The image of Pele, wearing a bright yellow Brazilian jersey and stamped with the number 10, lives on with football fans around the world. Leaping with his right fist above his head, similar to his trademark goal celebration.
Pele’s fame was such that in 1967 civil war factions in Nigeria agreed to a brief ceasefire. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 1997. When he traveled to Washington to help spread the game in North America, the first to reach out to him was the President of the United States.
“My name is Ronald Reagan. I am the President of the United States of America,” the host told the visitor. “But everyone knows who Pele is, so there’s no need to introduce yourself.”
Although Pele was Brazil’s first modern black national hero, he rarely spoke of racism in a country where the wealthy and powerful tended to hail from the white minority.
Fans on the other side taunted Pele with monkey chants at home and around the world.
Angelica Basti, one of Pele’s biographers, said, “He said he would never play if he had to quit every time he heard that chant.” I never thought I wanted to be a flag bearer.”
Pele’s life after football took many forms. He was a politician, Brazil’s provisional minister for sports, a wealthy businessman, and an ambassador to UNESCO and the United Nations.
He has acted in films and soap operas, composed songs and recorded CDs of Brazilian popular music.
As his health deteriorated, his travels and appearances became less frequent. His later years were often seen in a wheelchair, and he did not attend the unveiling of a statue representing Brazil’s 1970 World Cup team. Pele spent his 80th birthday at a beach house with several family members.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on October 23, 1940 in the small town of Torres Colakos in the hinterland of Minas Gerais, Pele grew up polishing shoes to buy modest football gear.
Pele’s talent caught the attention of the 11-year-old when a local professional brought him to the Santos youth team. It didn’t take long for him to make it onto the senior team.
Despite his youth and 5-foot-8 build, he scored as easily against adult men as he did against his hometown friends. He made his debut for the Brazilian club in 1956 at the age of 16 and the club quickly gained worldwide recognition.
The name Pelé comes from his mispronunciation of the player’s name, Bille.
He appeared as a reserve in the 1958 World Cup, but became a key player for his country’s championship team. His first goal was voted as one of the greatest goals in World Cup history.
The 1966 World Cup in England, won by the host nation, was bitter for Pele, who was already considered the world’s top player at the time. Brazil were eliminated in the group stage, and Pele, angered by the rough handling, vowed it would be his last World Cup.
He changed his mind and was rejuvenated for the 1970 World Cup. In the match against England, he hit a header to get a consistent score, but Gordon Banks, the great goalkeeper, flipped the ball over the bar in a surprising move. He likened one of the best saves in Cup history to “a salmon climbing a waterfall”. He then scored the first goal in his final World Cup match, the final against Italy.
Pele made 114 appearances for Brazil, scoring 95 goals, including 77 in all competitions.
His run with Santos lasted over 30 years before he semi-retired after the 1972 season. Wealthy European clubs tried to sign him, but the Brazilian government intervened to prevent him from being sold, declaring him a national treasure.
On the field, Pele’s energy, vision and imagination drove the talented Brazilian national team to a fast and fluid style of play that embodies ‘O Jogo Bonito’ (Portuguese for ‘beautiful game’). . His 1977 autobiography, My Life and the Beautiful Game, made the phrase part of the football lexicon.
In 1975, he joined the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. Although he was past his prime at age 34, Pele has made football more prominent in North America. He led Cosmos to his league title in 1977 and in 3 his seasons he scored 64 goals.
Pele finished his career on October 1, 1977, at an exhibition between Cosmos and Santos in New Jersey in front of a crowd of approximately 77,000. He played half for each club. Among the dignitaries in attendance was Muhammad Ali, the only athlete to make a name for himself around the world.
Pele endured difficult times in her personal life, especially when her son Edinho was arrested on drug-related charges. Pele had two daughters out of wedlock, and five children from his first two marriages to Rosemeri dos Reis Chorbi and Assyria Seixas Lemos. She then married businessman Marcia Civele Aoki.