The Brazilian football legend Pele, the three-time World Cup winner, passed away at the age of 82. One of the biggest ambassadors of football who has made the sport popular around the globe has left the world and his daughter confirmed his death on Thursday night on Instagram.
The ‘black pearl’ who charmed the world detected a tumor on his colon in September this year and was frequently in hospital after that. Later he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and left the world, making a big void that no one can fill.
Scoring 1281 goals throughout his career, Pele has ruled the football world for over a seven-decade as a player and later as the ambassador of the sport.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known mononymously as Pele was the only human who outface the logic and gravity in his game. Born on October 23, 1940 in Tres Coracoes, Pele learned the game from his father, a semi-professional player who lost his career due to a knee injury.
While seeing him playing neighborhood as a goalkeeper, kids start comparing him to a local player named ‘Bile’ and the Brazilian legend has got the name later twisted to Pele. Soon he was dazzling as a football legend, not as a goalkeeper, but as an attacking forward at number 10.
Pele was respected largely for his talents to head, pass, tackle, and of course to score goals. He was two-footed with tremendous pace and stamina.
At the age of 15, he joined Santos, a small Coastal club then turned out to be the most famous name in football. Within 18 years, he has won every honor in Brazilian football, along with winning two Copa Libertadores (South American equivalent of the Champions League) and two InterContinental Cups (annual tournament held between the best teams in Europe and South America).
Pele’s talent was then soon recognized by the national team and chosen for the Brazilian squad for the 1958 Sweden World Cup. In the semi-final against France, Pele scored a hat-trick in the first half itself. Then he scored another two goals against the Swedish team in the finals, helping Brazil win their first-ever world championship.
In 1962, injuries kept him out of all but two games, but Brazil won the World Cup again. Then in 1970 in Mexico, the fully competent 29-year-old Pele won Brazil’s title for the 3rd time. Pele became the only player to win 3 World Cup titles with the win. Star players like Carlos Alberto Torres and Tostao were with him to build the greatest National team ever.
Talking about Pele and the 1970 World Cup final, Italian defender Tarcisio Burgnich said, “I told myself before the game, he’s (Pele) made of skin and bones just like everyone else. But I was wrong”.
Pele was one of the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century and FIFA labeled him ‘the greatest’. He was named the Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee in 1999. His 1281 goals in 1363 games are recognized as Guinness World Record.
Pele initially retired in 1974, but due to the financial burdens, he accepted the offer to play in the fledgling North American Soccer League the next year. His charisma and smile amazed the New Yorkers. Pele then led the New York Cosmos to the league championship in 1977 and attracted millions around the world to the sport. He has a prolific career with 812 official tournaments and 757 goals.
In recent years, Pele has suffered a series of health issues, especially the hip surgery that left him with reoccurring pain and trouble walking unaided. He then reduced public appearances and was active on social media platforms.