Pelé, the legendary Brazilian soccer player who went on to become the sport’s first global icon and won three World Cups, has passed away at the age of 82.
Under an image of family members holding Pele’s hands, his daughter Kely Nascimento wrote, “Everything that we are, is thanks to you.” We are indebted to you. Rest peacefully.
Ended November, Pelé was admitted to a hospital in So Paulo for a respiratory infection and colon cancer complications. The hospital reported last week that his condition had deteriorated as his cancer had progressed. According to a statement from Albert Einstein Hospital, he passed away on Thursday from multiple organ failure brought on by the progression of colon cancer.
Pelé has been associated with soccer for more than 60 years. He participated in four World Cups and is the only player in history to win three of them; however, his legacy extended far beyond his impressive goal-scoring record and trophy haul.
Pelé famously stated, “I was born to play football, like Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint.”
Accolades have been pouring in for the soccer legend. Santos FC, Pelé’s first team, responded to the news on Twitter with the hashtag #eternal and an image of a crown.
Neymar, a footballer from Brazil, said that Pelé “changed everything.” He wrote this in an Instagram post: He made art and entertainment out of football. He gave the poor, African Americans, and particularly: He made Brazil more visible. Football and Brazil have raised their status on account of the Lord!” He added:
“a mere “goodbye” to the eternal King Pelé will never be enough to express the pain that currently engulfs the entire football world,” Portuguese star forward Cristiano Ronaldo wrote in an Instagram post to express his condolences to Brazil.
Regarding Pelé’s passing, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé stated: Although the football king has passed away, his legacy will never be forgotten.
Geoff Hurst, a former English soccer player, shared his fond memories of Pelé on Twitter, describing him as “without a doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside).” Pele is still my favorite player of all time, and it made me happy to share the field with him. Thank you, Pele, and sorry.”
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the new president of Brazil, expressed his condolences to Pelé via Twitter, writing that “few Brazilians took the name of our country as far as he did.”
“Despite the fact that the language was quite different from Portuguese, foreigners from all over the world quickly discovered how to pronounce the magical word, “‘. Pelé,'” Lula continued.
According to a statement released on Thursday by Santos FC, a public wake for Pelé will be held on Monday at the Urbano Caldeira stadium in Brazil’s So Paulo state, also known as Vila Belmiro and home to Santos football club.
Pele’s body will be moved to the stadium from the Albert Einstein Hospital at dawn on Monday. The coffin of the soccer great will be positioned in the middle of the field.
A funeral procession will carry Pelé’s coffin through the streets of the city of Santos, including the street where Pelé’s 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, lives, after the wake at Vila Belmiro concludes at 10 a.m. local time on Tuesday (8 a.m. ET).
The procession will then proceed to the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica cemetery in Santos, Pelé’s final resting place, where a private, family-only funeral will be held.
Before his family relocated to the city of Bauru in So Paulo, Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in 1940 in Três Coraçes, an inland city roughly 155 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro.
Even to the footballer, it is unclear how the name Pelé came to be. He once wrote in the British newspaper The Guardian that his classmates at school probably started teasing him for using Bilé’s nickname. No matter where it came from, the name stuck.
His first experience with soccer as a child involved playing barefoot with socks and rags rolled up into a ball. This was a modest beginning to a long and successful career.
However, when he first started playing the game, he had modest goals.
Pelé stated to CNN in 2015, “My dad was a good football player, he scored a lot of goals.” Dondinho was his name; I desired to emulate him.
He was well-known in Minas Gerais, Brazil. He was a model for me. I’ve always wanted to be like him, but God alone can still explain what happened.
Pelé left his family and started training with Santos as a teenager. Before his 16th birthday, he scored his first goal for the club. He would score 619 times in 638 games for the club, but his greatest accomplishments are in the Brazil national team’s fabled yellow jersey.
When Pelé, then 17 years old, made his World Cup debut in 1958, the world got its first glimpse of his amazing talent. He scored Brazil’s only goal against Wales in the quarterfinals, then scored a hat trick against France in the semifinals and two against host Sweden in the final.
Sweden’s Sigvard Parling stated, “I have to be honest and say I felt like applauding when Pelé scored the fifth goal in that final.”
For Pelé, the champion memory from the competition was putting his country on the brandishing map.
In 2016, he stated to CNN’s Don Riddell, “Everyone knew about Brazil when we won the World Cup.” Because we were well-known following that World Cup, I believe this was the most significant gift I gave to my nation.
In 1962, Brazil won a second World Cup, but Pelé was injured and couldn’t compete until the end of the tournament. His subsequent campaign was hampered by additional injuries in 1966, when Brazil were eliminated from the competition after the group stage, but redemption came in 1970.
Carlos Alberto, Brazil’s co-captain, said of the World Cup, “Pelé was saying that we were going to win, and if Pelé was saying that, then we were going to win the World Cup.”
That squad, which included Pelé, Gerson, Jairzinho, Tosto, Rivellino, and, of course, Gerson, is considered to be one of the best ever assembled.
Brazil scored arguably the most famous World Cup goal of all time in the final, a length-of-the-pitch sweep that involved nine of the team’s ten outfield players, winning 4-1 against Italy.
After Pelé teed up Alberto, the ball was drilled into the bottom corner of the net by Alberto. The Brazilian adage “jogo bonito,” or “the beautiful game,” has never been more aptly expressed.
Before the 1970 World Cup, Pelé had considered retiring. However, he ended up scoring four goals in the tournament, including one in the final.
Following his team’s defeat in the championship match, Italian defender Tarcisio Burgnich stated, “Before the match, I told myself that Pelé was just flesh and bones like the rest of us.” I found out later that I had been wrong.”
Pelé’s World Cup career came to an end with the tournament, but not his time in the spotlight. He signed a $1.67 million-per-year contract with the New York Cosmos in the United States in 1975.
One of the best players ever
Before officially retiring from football, Pele helped the Cosmos win the North American Soccer League championship in 1977 with his larger-than-life personality and extraordinary dribbling skills, which were a hallmark of his game.
The league, which attracted additional prominent players like Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer, would eventually fold in 1984. However, Pelé’s influence persisted everywhere.
Through endorsement deals and his outspoken political advocacy for Brazil’s poor, he maintained his prominence. He worked as a Goodwill UNICEF ambassador for many years, advocating for peace and providing assistance to children who were in danger.
Pelé’s health issues persisted for the majority of his later life. He was able to get around with the help of a walker, which he was seen shoving around with disdain in a documentary that came out last year. In September 2021, he had surgery to get rid of a tumor in his right colon.
Over the past year, Pelé’s cancer treatment has progressed. In November, while the 2022 World Cup was being held in Qatar, he was admitted to a hospital in Sao Paulo. This brought about an outpouring of support from the soccer community worldwide and beyond.
Discussion will unavoidably seethe about whether Pelé is the best player ever – whether it is feasible to contrast Pelé’s accomplishments with those of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, who have revamped soccer’s record books throughout recent years, or to Diego Maradona, the late Argentinian star who enthralled the footballing scene during the 1980s and 90s.
Maradona and Pelé shared the title of Player of the Century in 2000, but for some, Pelé should have been the clear winner.
Zico, who played for Brazil in the decade following Pelé’s retirement, stated, “This debate about the player of the century is absurd.” There can only be one response: Pelé. I might add that he is, by some distance, the greatest player ever.”
Precisely the number of objectives Pelé that scored during his profession is hazy, and his Guinness World Records count has gone under examination with many scored in informal matches.
He thanked Portugal’s Ronaldo in March 2021 for surpassing his “record of goals in official matches” of 767.
Pelé, on the other hand, was and will always be football’s first global superstar.
He stated to The Talks, an online magazine, “If I pass away one day, I am happy because I tried to do my best.” Because it is the most popular sport in the world, my sport enabled me to accomplish a great deal.