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Pelé, Brazilian football legend, dies at the age of 82



Sao Paulo, Brazil
CNN

Pelé, the Brazilian football legend who won three World Cups and became the sport’s first global icon, has died 82 years old.

“All we have is thanks to you,” his daughter Kely Nascimento wrote in an Instagram post, below a picture of family members holding Pele’s hand. “We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”

Pelé was hospitalized in São Paulo in late November with a respiratory infection and complications related to colon cancer. Last week, the hospital said his health had deteriorated as his cancer progressed. He died on Thursday of multiple organ failure due to the progression of colon cancer, according to a statement from Albert Einstein Hospital.

For more than 60 years, the name Pelé has been synonymous with football. He has played in four World Cups and is the only player in history to have won three, but his legacy goes beyond trophies and a respectable scoring record.

Pelé famously said: “I was born to play football, just as Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint.

Tribute was poured in for the football legend. Pelé’s first club, Santos FC, responded to the news on Twitter with the words “eternal” shared next to the image of the crown.

Brazilian soccer player Neymar says Pelé “changed everything.” In a post on Instagram, he wrote: “He turned football into art, into entertainment. He spoke up for the poor, for the blacks and especially: He gave a vision to Brazil. Football and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King!” he added.

Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo offered his condolences to Brazil in an Instagram post, saying “just a ‘goodbye’ to eternal King Pelé will never be enough to express the pain.” currently engulfing the entire football world.”

Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé said of Pelé’s death: “The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten.”

Former English footballer Geoff Hurst wrote on Twitter of his memories with Pelé, calling the late star “without doubt the best footballer I’ve ever faced (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I’ve ever played with) ). For me, Pele is still the greatest player of all time and I am proud to play with him. RIP Pele and thank you.

A spokesperson for Pelé told CNN that Pelé’s wake-up ceremony will be held at Vila Belmiro, the headquarters of Santos FC in the state of São Paulo. The time and date of the event have yet to be announced.

Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações – an inland city about 155 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro – in 1940, before his family moved to Bauru in São Paulo.

The origin of the nickname Pelé is unclear, even to the footballer. He used to write in the British newspaper guard that it may have started with his classmates teasing him for giving him another player’s nickname, Bilé. Whatever the origin, the nickname stuck.

It is unclear exactly how many goals Pelé has scored in his career, and his Guinness world record has been thoroughly checked with many goals scored in unofficial matches.

As a child, his first football hobby was playing barefoot with socks and rags rolled up into a ball – a humble beginning that would develop into a long and fruitful career.

But when he first entered the game, his ambitions were modest.

“My father was a good football player, he scored a lot of goals,” Pelé told CNN in 2015. “His name is Dondinho; I want to be like him.

“He is famous in Brazil, in Minas Gerais. He is my role model. I’ve always wanted to be like him, but what happened, to this day, only God can explain.”

As a teenager, Pelé left home and started training with Santos, scoring his first goal for the club before his 16th birthday. He would have scored 619 goals in 638 appearances for the club, but it was his feat in Brazil’s iconic yellow shirt for which he is best remembered.

The world first learned of Pelé’s brilliance in 1958, when he made his World Cup debut at the age of 17. He scored Brazil’s only goal in a quarter-final win over Wales, then scored a hat- trick in the semi-final against France and two goals in the final. Final match against host Sweden.

Brazilian players hold banners in support of former Brazilian player Pele after the match in the Round of 16 match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 between Brazil and South Korea on December 5.

“When Pelé scored his fifth goal in that final, I have to honestly say I wanted to clap,” said Sweden’s Sigvard Parling.

For Pelé, the standout memory of the tournament was putting his country on the sports map.

“When we won the World Cup, everyone knew about Brazil,” he told CNN’s Don Riddell in 2016. “I think this is the most important thing that I gave my country because of them. I was well known after that World Cup.”

Another World Cup championship came in 1962, although an injury sidelined Pelé in the later stages of the tournament. Other injuries hampered his next campaign in 1966 when Brazil left the competition after the group stage, but redemption came in 1970.

“Pelé said we would win, and if Pelé said so, then we would win the World Cup,” Brazil co-captain Carlos Alberto said of the tournament.

That team – consisting of the likes of Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostão, Rivellino, and of course, Pelé – is considered one of the greatest teams ever assembled.

IIn the final – a 4-1 win over Italy – Brazil scored arguably the most famous goal of all time at the World Cup, a long and sweeping move involving nine of the 10 outfielders. team field.

It ended with Pelé kicking the ball up to Alberto, who put the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The Brazilian jogo bonito (beautiful game) mantra has never been better encapsulated.

Pelé, who considered retiring before the 1970 World Cup, scored a goal of his own in the final and scored a total of four goals during the tournament.

“Before the game, I told myself that Pelé was just as flesh and blood as the rest of us,” said Italian defender Tarcisio Burginch after the team’s defeat in the final. “Then I realized I was wrong.”

The tournament marked Pelé’s World Cup career, but it was not the time when he was in the spotlight. In 1975, he signed a $1.67 million-a-year contract in the United States with the New York Cosmos.

With his outgoing personality and extraordinary dribbling skills – a trademark of his game – Pele helped Cosmos win the North American Soccer League championship in 1977 before officially retiring from football.

The tournament attracted other big names like Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer, but it didn’t last, eventually ending in 1984. But around the world, Pelé’s influence persisted.

He remains in the public eye through endorsement deals and is an outspoken political voice who has fought for the poor in Brazil. He has been a UNICEF goodwill ambassador for many years, promoting peace and supporting vulnerable children.

Health problems persisted for much of Pelé’s later life. He walks with the aid of a walker – an item he filmed shoving with disdain in a documentary released last year – and in September 2021 he She underwent surgery to remove the tumor from her right colon.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe (right) and the French national football team and Brazilian football legend Pele take part in a meeting at the Lutetia hotel in Paris on April 2, 2019.

Pelé’s cancer treatment continued for the past year. He was hospitalized in Sao Paulo in November when the 2022 World Cup was being held in Qatar, causing the global football community and beyond to receive a lot of support.

Debate is bound to erupt over whether Pelé is the greatest player of all time – whether Pelé’s achievements can be compared to Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, who have rewritten the record books. football in the last 15 years, or with Diego Maradona, the greatest player of all time. The late Argentine star captivated the football world in the 1980s and ’90s.

In 2000, FIFA jointly named Maradona and Pelé the Player of the Century, but to some, the outright winner should have been obvious.

“The debate about the player of this century is ridiculous,” said Zico, who represented Brazil in the decade after Pelé retired. “There is only one answer: Pelé. He’s the greatest player of all time, and by some distance, I might add.”

Before Christmas, daughter Pele posted emotional photos taken with her father in the hospital.

It is unclear exactly how many goals Pelé has scored in his career, and his Guinness world record has been thoroughly checked with many goals scored in unofficial matches.

In March 2021, he congratulated Portugal’s Ronaldo on surpassing his “official match scoring record” of 767.

However, there is little doubt that Pelé was and always will be football’s first global superstar.

He told online magazine The Talks: “If one day I die, I’m glad I did my best. “My sport allows me to do a lot because it’s the biggest sport in the world.”

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