The great Pelé of Brazil dies at the age of 82

The great Pele of Brazil has died at the age of 82.

The three-time World Cup winner had been hospitalized in Sao Paulo since late November.

Pele’s daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram: “We are thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”

Nascimento, who had posted before Christmas that Pele’s family members would be spending the holiday season in the hospital with him, added three heartbroken emojis.

A message on Pele’s official social media accounts read: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who passed away peacefully today.

“Love, love and love, forever.”

Pelé burst onto the world stage aged 17 at the 1958 World Cup, helping Brazil to the first of their record five successes in the competition.

Injuries affected his contribution to the finals in 1962, as Brazil retained their title, and 1966, but he returned to lead his country to glory for a third time in Mexico in 1970, as part of what is widely considered the greatest formation of all time.

He has endured a number of health issues in recent years and in September 2021 underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his colon.

This year he was admitted to the Israelite Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo on November 29 with a respiratory infection and remained there until his death.

The hospital said in a statement that Pele died on Thursday at 3:27 pm local time (6:27 pm GMT) “due to multiple organ failure due to the progression of colon cancer.”

As tributes poured in from around the world, a tweet from the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) simply read “King Pele,” accompanied by three crown emojis.

Federation president Ednaldo Rodrigues said in a statement: “The CBF will pay all possible tributes to the greatest athlete of all time. Pele is eternal and we will always work to preserve his story and continue his legacy.”

France’s World Cup star Kylian Mbappe – regarded as one of the best active players in the world – shared a photo of himself with ‘the king of football’, saying Pele’s legacy ‘will never be forgotten’.

Former England forward Sir Geoff Hurst – who won the World Cup in 1966, scoring a hat-trick in the final – said on Twitter: ‘I have so many memories of Pelé, without a doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I’ve ever played with).

“For me Pelé remains the greatest of all time and I was proud to be on the pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you.”

Fellow ex-England player Alan Murray – who played against Pele three times, including at the 1970 World Cup – called him the “greatest of the greatest”.

“This guy, he had to play against people like me who wanted to kill him. You know, I mean, I kicked him a couple of times,” he told Times Radio.

“In London, about 10 years ago…he pulled up his trouser leg. And he pointed at me, he said, ‘this is what you did to me’. We both grabbed each other and hugged each other, and started laughing.

Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo posted a message on Instagram alongside a photo of himself with the Brazilian great expressing his “deepest condolences”.

Ronaldo said: “A simple ‘goodbye’ to the eternal King Pele will never be enough to express the pain that currently embraces the entire world of football.

“An inspiration to so many millions, a reference of yesterday, today, forever. The affection she has always shown for me has been reciprocal in every shared moment, even at a distance.

“He will never be forgotten and his memory will live on in all of us football lovers forever. Rest in peace King Pele.

Pelé was a prodigious goalscorer, and over the course of his career he was credited with 1,281 by the official FIFA website.

There was much more to his game, though, and his outrageous talent and willingness to try – and often accomplish – the seemingly impossible prompted many observers to describe him as the greatest player of all time.

Others may legitimately claim that title too – not least Diego Maradona and his fellow Argentine Lionel Messi – but it is inconceivable not to mention Pelé in any shortlist.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento was born in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. His father, Dondinho, was a professional footballer.

He had his first trials at Santos in June 1956 and his scoring exploits for the club in the São Paulo state league propelled him into the Brazil squad for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

Along with other stars such as Garrincha, Mario Zagallo and Didi, Brazil put to rest the disappointment of losing the 1950 World Cup Final at home to Uruguay and became the first team to win the tournament away from home. of your continent.

He quickly became a superstar in his home country of what was then a forward-thinking nation, and became extremely marketable.

Injury curtailed his involvement in the 1962 World Cup as Brazil retained the trophy in Chile, and the player was criticized for speaking out against the military coup in Brazil two years later.

Pele suffered brutal treatment from opposing defenders during the 1966 World Cup in England (PA Archive)

Brazil lost their grip on the World Cup to England in 1966. Pelé was exposed to brutal treatment from defenders, particularly those of Portugal, as the South Americans were unable to break out of their group.

Incredibly there was debate in Brazil before the 1970 finals as to whether Pelé, still only 29, should be in the team. He responded to criticism of him spectacularly when Brazil regained the trophy in Mexico.

He gave Brazil the lead in the final against Italy and his languid pass onto Carlos Alberto’s path completed a sublime team move for the final goal in a 4-1 victory.

He never played for a European club but spent time in the United States with the New York Cosmos before his retirement in 1977.

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