Pelé, the Brazilian soccer star who won three World Cups and became the sport’s first global icon, has died at the age of 82.
“Thanks to you, we are everything we are,” his daughter Kely Nascimento wrote in an Instagram post with a picture of Pele’s family holding his hands. “We love you very much. Rest in peace.”
In late November, Pelé was taken to a hospital in So Paulo because he had a lung infection and problems with his colon cancer. The hospital said last week that his health had gotten worse as his cancer got worse. A statement from Albert Einstein Hospital said that he died on Thursday because the colon cancer had spread to more organs.
Pelé’s name has been linked to soccer for more than 60 years. He played in four World Cups and is the only player in history to win three of them. However, his legacy is much bigger than just the trophies and goals he scored.
Pelé once said, “I was born to play football, just like Beethoven and Michelangelo were born to write music and paint, respectively.”
People have been saying nice things about the soccer legend. Santos FC, Pelé’s first team, responded to the news on Twitter by posting an image of a crown with the word “eternal” next to it.
Neymar, a soccer player from Brazil, said that Pelé “changed everything.” In an Instagram post, he said, “He turned football into art and fun. He gave the poor and black people a voice. But most of all, he made Brazil known. Thanks to the King, both football and Brazil are more well-known. He added.
Next: Cristiano Ronaldo, a star forward from Portugal, posted a message of condolences to Brazil on Instagram. He said, “A simple “goodbye” to the “eternal King Pelé” will never be enough to describe the pain that the whole football world is feeling right now.”
Pelé’s death was announced by Paris Saint-Germain player Kylian Mbappé, who said, “The king of football has left us, but his legacy will never be forgotten.”
Geoff Hurst, a former English soccer player, wrote about Pelé on Twitter. He called him “without a doubt the best footballer I ever played against” (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside). I still think Pele is the best player ever, and I was proud to be on the field with him. “Farewell, Pele, and thank you.”
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who will be the next president of Brazil, took to Twitter to pay tribute to Pelé. He said that “few Brazilians took the name of our country as far as he did.”
“The language was very different from Portuguese, but people from all over the world quickly learned how to say the magic word: ‘Pelé,'” Lula said.
A public wake for Pelé will be held on Monday at the Urbano Caldeira stadium in Brazil’s So Paulo state. The stadium is called Vila Belmiro and is home to the Santos football club. A statement from Santos FC on Thursday said that the stadium would be used for the wake.
Pele’s body will be moved from the Albert Einstein Hospital to the stadium early on Monday morning. The soccer star’s casket will be put in the middle of the field.
The wake at Vila Belmiro will last until Tuesday at 10 a.m. local time or 8 a.m. ET. After that, a funeral procession will carry Pelé’s coffin through the streets of the city of Santos, including the street where Pelé’s mother, Celeste Arantes, who is 100 years old, lives.
The funeral procession will continue to the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica cemetery in Santos, where Pelé will be laid to rest. A private funeral for family members will be held there.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento was born in 1940 in the city of Três Coraces, which is about 155 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro. His family then moved to the city of Bauru in So Paulo.
Even Pelé himself doesn’t know where his nickname came from. He once wrote in the British newspaper The Guardian that it probably started when his school friends made fun of him for saying Bilé wrong. No matter where the name came from, it stuck.
As a child, he played soccer for the first time by rolling up socks and old clothes into a ball. It was a simple start that would lead to a long and successful career.
But when he first started playing, he didn’t have big plans.
Pelé told CNN in 2015, “My dad was a good football player, and he scored a lot of goals.” I wanted to be like him. His name was Dondinho.
“He was well-known in Minas Gerais, which is in Brazil. He showed me what to do. I always wanted to be like him, but God is the only one who can explain what happened.”
Pelé left home when he was a teen and started training with Santos. He scored his first goal for the club team before he turned 16 years old. He would go on to score 619 goals in 638 games for the club, but most people remember him for what he did in the famous yellow jersey of Brazil.
Pelé showed the world how good he was for the first time when he played in his first World Cup at age 17. He scored the only goal Brazil needed to beat Wales in the quarterfinals. He then scored a hat-trick against France in the semifinals and two more goals in the final against Sweden, the host country.
“When Pelé scored the fifth goal in that final, I really wanted to cheer,” said Sigvard Parling of Sweden.
For Pelé, the most memorable thing about the tournament was making his country famous in sports.
In 2016, he told CNN’s Don Riddell, “When we won the World Cup, everyone knew about Brazil.” “I think this was the most important thing I did for my country because, after that World Cup, we were well known.”
In 1962, Brazil won another World Cup, but Pelé had to miss the rest of the tournament because of an injury. In 1966, he hurt again, and Brazil left the tournament after the group stage. In 1970, though, he got his revenge.
Brazil’s co-captain Carlos Alberto said about the tournament, “Pelé said we were going to win, and if Pelé said that, we were going to win the World Cup.”
People think that team was one of the best ever put together. It had players like Jairzinho, Gerson, Tosto, Rivellino, and, of course, Pelé.
In the final, when Brazil beat Italy 4-1, they scored what might be the most famous World Cup goal ever. It was a long, sweeping move that involved nine of the team’s ten outfield players.
It ended when Pelé passed the ball to Alberto, who put it in the bottom corner of the goal. “The beautiful game” (jogo bonito) has never been a better way to describe what Brazil is all about.
Pelé had thought about retiring before the 1970 World Cup, but he scored a goal in the final and four more during the whole tournament.
“Before the game, I told myself that Pelé was just flesh and bones like the rest of us,” Italian defender Tarcisio Burgnich said after his team lost the final. “I found out later that I was wrong.”
Pelé’s time in the World Cup was over after the tournament, but he was still in the spotlight. In 1975, he signed a contract with the New York Cosmos that paid him $1.67 million a year.
He Was One Of The Best Players Ever
With his larger-than-life personality and amazing dribbling skills, which were a trademark of his game, Pele helped the Cosmos won the North American Soccer League championship in 1977, the last year he played football professionally before he retired.
Big names like Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer also joined the league, but it didn’t last. It folded in 1984. But Pelé’s influence lived on around the world.
He stayed in the public eye by doing endorsement deals and speaking out for Brazil’s poor in politics. He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for a long time, working to spread peace and help children in need.
Pelé had health problems for most of the rest of his life. He used a walker to get around, which he was seen tossing around with disdain in a documentary that came out last year. In September 2021, he had surgery to remove a tumor from his right colon.
Over the past year, Pelé has kept getting treatment for his cancer. In November, when the 2022 World Cup was being played in Qatar, he was hospitalized in Sao Paulo. This brought a lot of support from the soccer community and beyond.
There will always be a debate about whether Pelé is the best player of all time. People will wonder if Pelé’s accomplishments can be compared to those of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, who have rewritten soccer’s record books in the past 15 years, or to those of Diego Maradona, who was a huge star in the 1980s and 1990s.
In 2000, Maradona and Pelé were both named Player of the Century by FIFA, but some people thought the winner should have been clear.
Zico, who played for Brazil a decade after Pelé retired, said, “This debate about who was the best player of the century is ridiculous.” “Pelé is the only possible answer. He is the best player of all time, and by a long shot, if I may say so.
It’s not clear how many goals Pelé scored in his career, and his Guinness World Records number has been questioned because many of his goals were scored in unofficial games.
In March 2021, he congratulated Ronaldo of Portugal on breaking his “record for goals scored in official games,” which was 767. There is no doubt, though, that Pelé was and will always be the first football player to become a global superstar.
“If I die one day, I will be happy because I did my best,” he told the online magazine The Talks. “Because my sport is the most popular in the world, it gave me a chance to do so much.”
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