Brazilian Legendary football maestro, Edson Arantes do Nascimento alias Pele,82, breathed his last on Thursday, 29th December 2022 at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo-Brazil, where he had been hospitalized since late November when his health deteriorated.
The 3 time world cup winner was battling with cancer and multiple organ failure. He has been on medication from the time a cancerous tumor was removed from his colon in 2021. Doctors have since been closely monitoring his health until he stopped responding to medication.
His daughter, Kely Nascimento, broke the news about his demise via an Instagram post, sharing a picture of the family holding the hands of the fallen soccer icon.
“We love you endlessly. Rest in peace,” she posted.
A post on Pele’s official Instagram account read, ” Pele enchanted the world with his genius sport and helped to spread a message of love, his message today becomes a legacy for future generations. Love, love and love, forever,” part of the post reads.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on 23 October 1940, Pele was regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time and labelled “the greatest” by FIFA.
He started his footbal career as a youth in 1953 playing for Bauru till 1956 and commenced his senior career the same year.
Pele is the only player in the world to have won the world cup 3 times , lifting the trophy 1958, 1962 and 1970. He became the youngest ever goal scorer in a World Cup final, netting twice at just 17 years and 249 days in his first world cup appearance. Pele was the Brazilian national team’s all-time top goalscorer, with 77 goals in 92 games.
He joined Santos in 1956 scoring 618 goals in 636 appearances before moving to USA in 1975 to join New York Cosmos where he bagged 37 goals in 64 appearances.
He returned to Brazil and later served as the minister of sports in President Fernando Henrique’s Gorvernment between 1995 and 1998. He also served as a UNESCO Goodwill ambassador.
The Football-giant is credited with scoring a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances including 77 goals in 92 matches for his country.
He is notably one of the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century. In 1999, he was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee and was included in the Time list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.
In 2000, Pelé was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century. His 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which includes friendlies, is recognised as a Guinness World Record.
Pele’s death triggered a wave of condolence messages from accross the world.
Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar Jr. wrote, “Pele changed everything, giving a voice to the poor, to Black people and giving visibility to Brazil,” Adding that “10 was just a number until Pele happened.”
Brazil’s Football federation stated in an Instagram post that ,” Pele gave us a new Brazil and we can only thank him for his legacy.”
Portuguese football phenomenon, Cristiano Ronaldo posted a tribute on his Instagram page, pouring out his condolences to the people of Brazil, noting that, “the death of King Pele has sent great pain throughout the football world.”
The team captain of the recently crowned World Cup champions, Argentina’s Lionel Messi also posted a tribute to the star in a post on Facebook.
France’s budding football mogul, Kylian Mbappe took it to his Twitter handle to offer his condolences, “The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten,”
The German Football Association wrote on Twitter that “German football is in mourning. We already miss you.”
Football clubs including Chelsea FC, Manchester United and England’s national football team as well as Croatia’s football federation also responded to the death of football’s great with social media posts noting condolences to family and the football fraternity.
World leaders also reacted to Pele’s demise with French President Emmanuel Macron writing on Twitter: “The Game. The King. Eternity.”
In a lengthy Facebook post, US president, Joe Biden commiserated the icon reminding the world of the legend’s great achievements, “Before there was Messi, Ronaldo, Beckham, there was Pelé. In 1958, he won his first World Cup for Brazil at seventeen – the youngest winner ever. He went on to win another two World Cups in 1962 and 1970, making him the only player in the world today with three World Cup trophies.For a sport that brings the world together like no other, Pelé’s rise from humble beginnings to soccer legend is a story of what is possible. Today, Jill’s and my thoughts are with his family and all those who loved him.”