30 December (Reuters) – The sporting world expressed its sadness at the loss of one of its greatest heroes on Friday and said goodbye to Brazilian football legend Pele in heartfelt condolences.

Brazil’s Pele, who won an unprecedented three World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1970, died Thursday at the age of 82 after a long battle with cancer.

FIFA said on Twitter: “Today the flag at FIFA’s home ground in Zurich is at half-staff in memory of the eternal champion Pele.

FIFA has also sent a letter to more than 200 member associations asking tournament organizers to observe a minute’s silence before matches this weekend and next week.

The Premier League, EFL and A-League said they would pay tribute to the great footballer with a minute of applause before the game.

The Premier League and the EFL added that players will wear black armbands during this weekend’s matches, while Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A said they would observe a minute’s silence before games.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah shared a photo of the icon on Instagram, captioning it, “Farewell to a football legend,” with several footballers paying tribute to Pele on social media.

Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric said Pele was “one of the greatest players of all time”, while Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi posted a black-and-white photo of a young Pele smiling on Twitter, saying: Your legacy will be forever.”

The Australian Professional League (APL) has announced that all A-League matches this weekend will feature a one-minute applause to honor the ‘icons’ before kick-off.

A minute of applause was observed before Western United’s home game against Brisbane Roar on Friday.

Brazilian tennis player Thiago Monteiro said it was a sad day for Brazil.

“Pele was our biggest idol in sport. He did a lot for his country and to show Brazil to the world. We had a lot of respect for him.” ” Monteiro told reporters.

Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar said Pele’s death was “a huge loss, not only for football, but for the sport as a whole.”

Reported by Aadi Nair and Shrivathsa Sridhar, Bangalore; Reported by Nayera Abdallah, Cairo; Edited by Pritha Sarkar

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