• The world mourns Brazil, the great soccer player

Brazil Legend Pele, who has died aged 82, is widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, the iconic sports figure from a country (Brazil) that is considered the spiritual home of soccer.

Pelé’s greatness can be measured by the simple fact that he could make football a spectacle of grace and natural beauty when he missed as much as when he scored; No wonder the entire world took a moment to send a farewell message when news of his death broke on Thursday.

Pelé passed away on Thursday at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo 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.”

That was followed by a message on the player’s official Twitter account, which has been active since he was hospitalized.

“Inspiration and love marked the path of King Pelé, who passed away peacefully today. Love, love and love, forever. Pele,” the tweet read.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter called Pele the “greatest footballer in history.”

Blatter, 86, who led world soccer’s governing body from 1998 to 2015, said he was “immensely saddened” to learn of Pele’s death.

“Very sad news: Pelé has left us,” the former Swiss soccer administrator wrote on Twitter.

“The world is in mourning for the best footballer in history and a wonderful personality. He celebrated the game like no other.

“Dear Pele, I am immensely saddened and I honor you and your life’s work. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

The Confederation of African Football, CAF, also wrote: “The world of football is in mourning for one of the greatest icons of all time. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Pele’s family and friends.”

The Nigerian Football Federation also paid tribute to the Brazilian on Twitter: “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.”

An eight-time champion of the Nigerian Professional Football League and a two-time winner of the CAF Champions League, Enyimba International Football Club of Aba also wrote on their Twitter page: “A player who was too good for the earth. Shine in the galaxy, King Pele.”

Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar, who equaled Pele’s record of 77 goals for Brazil after scoring against Croatia in the World Cup quarter-finals, also paid tribute to his country’s biggest sporting icon. .

“Before Pelé, ’10’ was just a number,” the heir to Pelé’s famous jersey number wrote on Instagram, along with two photos of himself with the late legend.

“But that beautiful sentence is incomplete. He would say that before Pelé, soccer was just a sport. He transformed soccer into an art, into entertainment… Soccer and Brazil gained status thanks to the King. He is gone, but his magic will remain. Pelé is ETERNAL!” Neymar wrote.

Similarly, France star Kylian Mbappe, who broke Pelé’s record for most FIFA World Cup goals scored by a player at 24 in Qatar earlier this month, said Pelé’s legacy has never will be forgotten.

“The king of soccer has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING. Mbappé tweeted.

Portugal superstar and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo also shared his tribute on social media.

“My deepest condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Edson Arantes do Nascimento.

“A mere ‘goodbye’ to the eternal King Pelé will never be enough to express the pain that is embracing the entire world of football at this time.

“An inspiration for so many millions, a reference yesterday, today and forever.”

“The love that you always showed me was reciprocated in every moment that we shared even at a distance. He will never be forgotten and his memory will live forever in each and every football lover.

“Rest in peace King Pele,” he wrote.

Beyond the world of soccer, the former president of the United States, Barack Obama, led the tributes with a post of him and Pelé in life.

“Pelé was one of the greatest to play this beautiful game. And as one of the world’s most renowned athletes, he understood the power of sports to bring people together. Our thoughts are with his family and all who loved and admired him,” Obama captioned the image.

Tennis star Rafael Nadal also said: “I was always told and taught that he was the King of football.”

Pelé, the boy genius

Pelé started as a child at Bauru FC in Sao Paulo state under the guidance of former Brazil international Waldemar de Brito. When he caught the eye of Brazil’s elite, he decided to join his mentor’s former club, Santos.

It wasn’t long before he made his senior team debut, aged 15, on 7 September 1956, scoring the first of over 1,000 career goals in a 7-1 win against Corinthians Santo. Andre.

Pelé ensured that Santos dominated not only in Brazil but also beyond, winning the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League, in 1962 and 1963 with victories against Peñarol of Uruguay in a playoff and then Boca Juniors of Argentina, 5- 3 overall.

It was inevitable that international honors would quickly follow and he wore the famous Brazil jersey for the first time on 9 July 1957 against Argentina at the Maracanã aged 16 years and nine months, scoring the number one 77 goals in 92 appearances for his country. in a 2 -1 loss.

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

World Cup hero from Brazil

Pelé captivated the world as a 17-year-old when he scored twice as Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 in the 1958 World Cup final, but he shone brightest in the galaxy of stars assembled in his legendary World Cup team of 1970, scoring the first goal in a 4-1 victory against Italy in the final at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico.

Pelé’s story supported those two great teams in Brazil and when, in the modern game, much is made of the role of the “number 10” and, indeed, the shirt itself, Edson Arantes do Nascimento will be considered by many as the first and the greatest.

When the discussion of who was the best in the game takes place, almost always in a World Cup context, Brazil’s great rival Argentina will defend the late Diego Maradona, who almost single-handedly, literally according to England after his The infamous “Hand of God” goal in the quarterfinals led them to World Cup glory in 1986.

The Argentines will even offer Maradona’s successor, Lionel Messi, as another rival to Pelé’s greatness in a discussion that will never be fully resolved to the satisfaction of either of these great South American adversaries.

Pele, however, did not have the dark side of Maradona, an example of which was being banned from the 1994 World Cup in the United States after testing positive for the drug ephedrine. Messi, however, has gone on to claim World Cup glory with Argentina in the 2022 tournament.

Pelé also suffered disappointments at the World Cup, none more so than when he was brutally thrown out of the competition in England in 1966.

He left the scene of Portugal’s 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park wrapped in a blanket after a succession of fouls left him limping in one leg, his right knee badly bandaged. During the match, he stuck around and continued to throw himself into physical challenges to show that bravery matched brilliance as substitutes were not allowed.

That knee injury was caused by earlier wild challenges in Brazil’s opener against Bulgaria and Pelé was so disgusted by the treatment that he vowed never to play in another World Cup again, a decision the game welcomed that he later reversed.

Brazil’s victory in the 1970 World Cup was the pinnacle of Pele’s career. He was the focal point of a dream team that has been enshrined in the history of the game. Pele could have been the great protagonist but he was accompanied by names like Rivelino, Jairzinho, Tostao and Gerson, as well as the great captain and leader Carlos Alberto.

The image of Pelé shirtless being carried aloft by his teammates and supporters after winning the World Cup in Mexico City is seared into memory, along with the famous image of another shirtless hug with England captain Bobby Moore, a gesture full of mutual sympathy. respect, after Brazil’s 1-0 victory in the group game in Guadalajara.

life after football

Pelé traveled the world as an ambassador for the game, in demand around the world and also by large organizations desperate to bask in the power of his fame and position.

He was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2005 BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.

Before receiving the award, Beckenbauer, Johann Cruyff and Sir Bobby Charlton all gave recorded tributes. Beckenbauer said: “He was the best player in the history of football.”

The Brazilian great was back in England in March 2015 on a promotional visit, taking to the pitch at Anfield at half-time of Liverpool’s loss to Manchester United to a prolonged standing ovation from all corners of the stadium.

He was also prominently used in an ambassadorial role for Brazil, appearing at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games before the handover to the next host, Rio, which hosted the games in 2016.

Pele, however, will forever be associated with “The Beautiful Game,” and arguably no one played it more beautifully.