As the world bids farewell to Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, Nigerians, led by President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.), also added his words to the long list of farewell messages for the man who has long time has been described as the best footballer. of all times.
The great from Brazil had been receiving chemotherapy for a colon tumor that was removed last September and returned to the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo on February 13. While in the hospital he contracted a urinary infection and underwent an endoscopy, which left him weak and unable to eat. and talking
Pelé passed away on Thursday at the Albert Einstein Hospital and his daughter, Kely Nascimento, confirmed the news on Instagram, writing: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
In a statement signed by the president’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, titled ‘President Buhari mourns football legend Pelé’, the president said: “Pele is gone, but the world will never forget him. RIP.
“May he rest in peace. He led a good life and made a great contribution to the development of world football in particular and world sport in general.
“He had enormous generosity of spirit and humility despite his greatness as a footballer and athlete.”
The Nigerian Football Federation also took to its Twitter account to celebrate the passing of football’s greatest.
“We express our sorrow at the sad passing of soccer icon and Brazilian great Edson Arantes Do Nascimento ‘Pelé’.
“We mourn his passing with the rest of the soccer family around the world and the Brazilian soccer family in particular. May his soul rest in peace.”
Sylvanus Okpala, who played for Nigeria in the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations, described Pelé’s death as an inevitable colossal loss for the world of soccer.
“It is very unfortunate; I think all footballers will mourn him. Of course, he’s old, but when you look back on his exploits from the 1958 Club World Cup, through clubs and the 1970 World Cup, he was tremendous.
“I saw Pelé on video and he also had a huge impact on me as a footballer. He was an all rounder. Very good with both feet, when you talk about speed, scoring goals, free kicks, controlling the ball and he was very good in the air. He was a complete footballer,” Okpala said.
“It’s sad to lose an icon like Pele, but God gives and he has the power to take,” former Eagles goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu said.
“It’s better to go and rest, but he will definitely be missed in the world, but he was a man who had given his best to football and lived a full life.”
Also, veteran Nigerian journalist Kunle Solaja and former Nigerian Sportswriters Association National President Steve Alabi described the legend as the undisputed greatest of all time.
“Everything points to one man, and that man is Pelé. Because in a world where there is racial bias, for a white man to recognize the greatness of Pele, it means that he was greater than great. He was a successful footballer and he handled his success very well and, furthermore, he was an ambassador for many international organizations, including FIFA and the United Nations. In every way, he rose above the rest. May his soul rest in peace,” Solaja said.
“If Pelé’s game had been fully captured, the younger generations would have marveled more than they did at his incredible wit that borders on footballing omniscience. Records do little justice to her off-world delivery: the only person, male or female, in the entire history of the game to win three World Cups. The only person, male or female, in the entire history of the game to score more than a thousand goals. This is why I qualify Pelé as King”. Steve Alabi wrote on his Facebook.
Having made his professional debut for Santos at the age of just 16, Pelé was selected to represent Brazil at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden when he was just a year older.
He would disprove his inexperience amazingly.
Pelé rose to stardom by winning the 1958 World Cup, scoring six goals when he was just 17 years old. Two of those goals came in the final against hosts Sweden, including one of football’s most iconic goals, a strike over the head of a defender and a volley shot. .
His incredible career is littered with remarkable achievements. Most notably, he is the only player to have won three World Cups, having also triumphed with Brazil in 1962 and 1970. He was also one of the first black global sports icons.
Born and raised in the Tres Coracoes favelas in Minas Gerais, Edson Arantes do Nascimento – who would become known in school as Pelé, apparently because of the way he mispronounced the name of his favorite soccer player, Bilis – grew up poor and he taught himself. how to play soccer kicking a sock stuffed with newspaper.
Pelé helped popularize soccer in the US when, with three World Cups under his belt, he briefly joined the New York Cosmos.
He played his last game as a professional soccer player during his tenure in the US, at Giants Stadium in New York on October 1, 1977, representing the Cosmos in one half and his former club Santos in the other.
Pele’s greatest rival at the time was Portugal legend Eusebio, but when the two met in the 1962 Intercontinental Cup, contested between the Copa Libertadores and European Cup champions, there was only one winner.
Pelé scored twice in Santos’ 3-2 win against Benfica at the Maracana before scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 win at the Estadio de la Luz.
In Brazil, Pelé will also be associated with the white jersey of Santos, with whom he scored 619 goals in 638 games which, added to his glorious deeds for his country, gave him – at least in his homeland – the undisputed soccer title. best player
He is credited with scoring a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances over a 21-year career, including 77 goals in 92 games for his country.
The only player to win the World Cup three times, lifting the trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970, Pelé was named FIFA Player of the Century in 2000.
All the greats of the game, past and present, will have admired and been inspired by Pelé, the first real icon of world soccer.