Pele, Brazil legend lost to cancer at 82
Pele, who is the only player in history to win three World Cups, passed away at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo following a battle with cancer; he became an icon of the game after winning the World Cup in 1958 as a 17-year-old, netting twice in the final to defeat hosts Sweden
Brazil football legend Pele, one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 82
Brazil football legend Pele, one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 82.
The former striker, who is the only player in history to win three World Cups, passed away at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo following a battle with cancer.
Pele, who is Brazil’s joint all-time top scorer with 77 goals in 92 matches, became an icon of the game after winning the World Cup in 1958 as a 17-year-old, netting twice in the final to defeat hosts Sweden.
A message from Pele’s official Twitter account on Thursday read: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today. Love, love and love, forever.”
Pele’s daughter, Kely Nascimento, who has provided updates on her father’s health from hospital, wrote on Instagram: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
Tributes to Pele after Brazil legend dies aged 82
Pele, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, to a poor family in Sao Paulo, won the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups with Brazil.
Injury restricted his contribution to Brazil’s triumph in 1962 in Chile but he was player of the tournament eight years later, as Brazil assembled one of the greatest sides of all time and lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in Mexico thanks to a 4-1 win over Italy in which Pele scored the opening goal.
The Soccer Special panel pay tribute to Pele
That goal makes him one of only five players to have scored in two World Cup finals and, thanks to his exploits in 1958, he remains the youngest player to have netted a goal at the tournament.
In total, Pele scored 12 goals in 14 World Cup appearances and also provided 10 assists – the most by any player in the history of the competition, and a reminder that he was much more than a goalscorer.`
It was his spectacular scoring feats, though, that made him a Santos legend at club level.
Pele with a policeman in Chester during the 1966 World Cup in England
Pele holds his hometown side’s all-time goal record and helped them to two Copa Libertadores titles and six Brazilian league crowns during a glittering 18-year spell with the club.
Pele, who scored 1,281 goals in 1,363 games for club and country during his career, ended his playing days at New York Cosmos and retired from football in 1977.
Pele embraces Brazilian goalkeeper Ado at the Estadio Azteca, in Mexico City, after Brazil beat Italy 4-1 to win the World Cup, 21st June 1970. Pele scored the first goal in a game that ensured Brazil kept the Jules Rimet trophy
Pele celebrates winning the 1970 World Cup
After retiring, Pele acted as an ambassador for football. In 2013, he was awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in recognition of his career and achievements. In 2020, he was named in the Ballon d’Or Dream Team, a greatest of all-time XI.
Three days of mourning for Pele have been declared by the Brazilian government.
Neymar: King Pele is forever
Neymar, Brazil’s joint-highest scorer in men’s international football alongside Pele, shared an emotional tribute to his idol following his passing.
“‘Before Pelé, 10, was just a number’,” Neymar, who wears the No 10 for Brazil and also started his career with Santos, wrote in a post on Instagram.
“I’ve read this phrase somewhere, at some point in my life. But this sentence, beautiful, is incomplete.
“I would say before Pelé football was just a sport. Pelé has changed it all. He turned football into art, into entertainment.
“He gave voice to the poor, to black people and especially: he gave visibility to Brazil. Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King! He’s gone but his magic remains. Pelé is forever.”
Christ the Redeemer statue is illuminated in the colours of the Brazilian national flag to honour late soccer legend Pele in Rio de Janeiro
Martin Tyler: ‘In the football world Pele is immortal’
Sky Sports football commentator Martin Tyler says Pele deserves to be remembered as the best player to have played the game.
He said: “For me he is the greatest player of all time. One of my early jobs outside of television was to put the English voice on a VHS, as it was in those days, of his Brazil career and his 1,000 goals.