The King Of Football Departs For His Eternal Slumber

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Credit: Flickr
  • Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
  • He is credited with scoring a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during a 21-year career, including 77 goals in 92 matches for his country.
  • The only player to win the World Cup three times, lifting the trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Pele was named Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000. President Jair Bolsonaro has declared three days of national mourning. Pele had been suffering with kidney and prostate problems in recent years. He had surgery to remove a tumor from his colon in September 2021 at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, after the tumor was detected in routine tests. He was readmitted to hospital in late November 2022.

The King Of Football

The Brazilian Football Confederation said: “Pele was much more than the greatest sportsperson of all time. Our king of football was the greatest exponent of a victorious Brazil, who was never afraid when faced with difficulty. He promised his father a World Cup and he presented us with three…” Pele’s former club Santos released details of his funeral. On Monday morning his body will be moved from the hospital to the club’s Estádio Urbano Caldeira, where the coffin will be placed in the center of the pitch for the public to pay respects.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, became a global star when, aged 17, he helped Brazil win the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, forcing his way into the starting line-up by the knockout stages. He scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Wales in the quarter-finals, a hat-trick against France in the semi-final and two in a 5-2 triumph over the hosts in the final. Pele had made his debut for club side Santos two years earlier at the age of 15, scoring in a 7-1 win over Corinthians de Santo André.

Spectacular Career

The Brazilian Football Confederation and Santos say Pele scored 1,283 goals in 1,367 matches, while Fifa claims it was 1,281 goals in 1,366 games. At the 1962 World Cup, Pele, then 21, scored a brilliant individual goal in a 2-0 win over Mexico to open their campaign, but was injured in the next match and watched from the sidelines as his team defended their title. From his joyful tears on the chest of team-mate Nilton Santos to his embrace with England captain Bobby Moore, Pele’s moments of magic have spanned eras and defined the history of the sport. In a poll conducted by BBC Sport in 2020, Pele was voted the greatest player, ahead of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff.

His greatness can be measured by the simple fact that he could make football a spectacle of natural grace and beauty when he missed as much as when he scored. One of the game’s first global personalities, Pele layered his brilliance across a career spanning from a teenager with Santos to a money-spinner at New York Cosmos. Wherever football is played, the name of Pele will be synonymous with it.

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Source: BBC

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