The football world is in mourning again today after another true great of the game passed away.
Brazil legend Pele has died at the age of 82. One of the true legends of football, Pele led his country to three World Cup title wins in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and was widely regarded as one of the best players to ever play the game.
Pele scored an astonishing 77 goals in 92 games for Brazil and averaged almost a goal a game during his club career, which spanned from 1956 to 1977.
He was admitted to hospital three weeks ago in Brazil after his cancer progressed and he “required greater care related to renal and cardiac dysfunctions”.
His daughter Kely Nascimento shared an emotional photo with her father on Saturday saying: “We continue to be here, in fight and in faith. One more night together.”
We will post all the tributes to the great man here below.
FA to light up Wembley arch in Brazil colours
The Football Association, who will light up the Wembley arch in Brazil colours as a tribute, said: “Everyone who loves football, loves Pele.
“His unique talent lit up the game, and inspired football. Our thoughts are with his family, the Brazil Football Confederation and the Brazilian people.”
‘A sporting legend’
Pele’s achievements on the football field transcended the game and touched competitors in other sports.
Jamaican former sprinter Usain Bolt, the eight-time Olympic gold medallist, wrote on Twitter: “A Sporting Legend. Rest in Peace King Pele.”
Elsewhere, the official England Twitter account posted a picture of Pele exchanging shirts with Bobby Moore after their meeting at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
“One of the greatest to have graced the beautiful game,” read the tweet. “Farewell, Pele. You will never be forgotten.”
‘He will never be forgotten’
Argentina’s World Cup winner Lionel Messi posted a picture on Instagram of him with Pele with the message: “Rest in peace, @pele.”
Cristiano Ronaldo posted a picture of him receiving an award from Pele and wrote: “My deepest condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Mr. Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
“A mere “goodbye” to the eternal King Pele will never be enough to express the pain that currently embraces the entire world of football.
“An inspiration for so many millions, a reference from yesterday, today, forever. The affection he always showed for me was reciprocal in every moment we shared, even from a distance.
“He will never be forgotten and his memory will live on forever in each of us football lovers. Rest in peace, King Pele.”
Neymar pays touching tribute
Neymar equalled Pele’s Brazil goals record at the World Cup in Qatar. He paid tribute on his Instagram account, to Pele’s skills but also for giving a “voice to the poor and to black people and visibility to Brazil.”
Neymar wrote: “Before Pelé, 10 was just a number. I read that phrase somewhere, at some point in my life. But that sentence, beautiful, is incomplete.
“I would say that before Pelé, football was just a sport. Pele changed everything.
“He turned football into art, into entertainment. He gave a voice to the poor, to black people and especially: Gave visibility to Brazil.
“Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic remains. Pele is ETERNAL!!”
Chelsea have now also published a statement on Twitter.
It read: “Farewell to the King. The master of the beautiful game. Rest in peace, Pelé.”
Pele’s career in numbers
Following Pele’s death, the PA news agency has taken a look back at his remarkable career record.
3 – the record number of World Cups won by Pele, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
17 – Pele’s age in the 1958 tournament – he remains the youngest man to play in a World Cup final and to score a World Cup hat-trick.
3 – goals in World Cup finals – two against Sweden in 1958 and one against Italy in 1970.
77 – goals for Brazil, a record that was recently matched by Neymar.
1,281 – Pele’s career goal tally, according to FIFA’s official website. The disputed total includes friendly games.
767 – his goals in official matches, as tracked by the Rec Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation. Those goals came in 831 games.
1,089 – goals for his long-time Brazilian club Santos – though again, friendlies are included. The RSSSF lists his competitive record as 643 in 659 games, the most by a player for any one club until surpassed by Lionel Messi’s 672 for Barcelona.
2 – clubs represented in his career – Santos and the New York Cosmos.
6 – Brazilian league titles won with Santos – every year from 1961 to 1965, plus 1968. He added the 1977 North American Soccer League title with the Cosmos.
A hospital statement read: “The Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein regretfully confirms the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, today, December 29, 2022, at 3:27 pm, due to the failure of multiple organs, a result of the progression of cancer of colon associated with his previous clinical condition.
“Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein sympathizes with the family and everyone who suffers from the loss of our dear King of Football.”
Gary Lineker pays tribute
As expected, many people have taken to social media to pay tribute to Pele.
Gary Lineker tweeted: “Pele has died. The most divine of footballers and joyous of men. He played a game only a few chosen ones have come close to. 3 times he lifted the most coveted gold trophy in that beautiful yellow shirt. He may have left us but he’ll always have footballing immortality. RIP Pele.”
‘The best footballer I ever played against’
The Brazilian Football Federation posted a picture of Pele celebrating a goal, saying “RIP Pele” and adding three crown emojis.
Sir Geoff Hurst, the former England striker, also paid tribute, tweeting: “I have so many memories of Pele, without doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside).
“For me Pele remains the greatest of all time and I was proud to be on the pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you.”
Arsenal and Spurs post tributes
Arsenal and Tottenham are among the clubs to have posted their own tributes.
Arsenal said on Twitter: “We are truly saddened to hear the news of Pele’s passing. As a club, we had the privilege of hosting Pele in 1981, at Highbury. A memory we will always cherish. Our thoughts, along with entire football community are with Pele’s loved ones today.”
Tottenham said on Twitter: “The Club is saddened to learn of the passing of one of football’s all-time greats, Pele. Our thoughts are with his family and our fans across Brazil at this sad time.”
Official statement in full
A statement on Pele’s official Instagram account said: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today.
“On his journey, Edson enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love.
“His message today becomes a legacy for future generations. Love, love and love, forever.”
Pele’s cancer battle
Pele had been treated for colon cancer, following surgery to remove a tumour in September 2021, and had required regular medical treatment, reports Daily Mirror.
After being admitted back into hospital at the end of November to re-evaluate his cancer treatment, he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection before subsequently being moved to palliative care when his body became unresponsive to chemotherapy.
Doctors and nurses at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo duly made him as comfortable as possible, while his wife, Marcia Aoki, remained by his bedside. He sadly passed away on Thursday.
With his success came many accolades.
Pele was voted World Player of the Century in 2000 and named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. He received the first-ever FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in 2014, whilst analysis showed he would have won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times if it had existed during his career.
Born as Edson Arantes do Nascimento, he became better known as ‘Pele’ and is widely considered the best player to have ever graced a football pitch. He scored 77 goals in just 92 international appearances for Brazil and was part of world-renowned teams that won three World Cups between 1958 and 1970.
Pele’s 21-year domestic career saw him represent just two clubs. Debuting in 1956 for boyhood team Santos, he made 636 appearances for the club prior to spending two years with New York Cosmos of the now-abolished North American Soccer League. Upon retirement in 1976, he had scored 655 club goals in 700 games.
Pele sadly died in hospital on Thursday, his family confirmed in a statement.
His daughter, Kely Nascimento, confirmed the news on Instagram, writing: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
Ms Nascimento, who had posted before Christmas that members of Pele’s family would spend the holiday period in the hospital with him, added three heartbroken emojis.
Hello and welcome to our coverage of this very sad news.
Brazil legend and footballing icon Pele has sadly passed away at the age of 82 following a battle against cancer.
We will bring you the latest updates as we get them.