Journalism in the service of society

Football’s first superstar Pele passes away at 82

Brazilian football legend Pele has lost his battle with cancer and died tonight in Sao Paulo, his family has confirmed.

He was 82 years old.

“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today. Love, love, and love, forever,” a post on his Twitter account said moments after his death was announced.

Pele, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, winning three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

He was 17 when he won his and Brazil’s first World Cup, scoring twice in the final against hosts Sweden in a 5-2 victory.

Pele went on to become football’s first real global superstar, adding the 1962 and 1970 World Cups to his rich collection to become the only player to ever win the title three times.

He began his professional career at his hometown club Santos at the age of 15 and was there from 1956 to 1974, scoring an incredible 618 goals in 636 appearances.

The hugely talented forward then spread some stardust on the fledgling North American Soccer League in the United States, joining the New York Cosmos in 1975.

He was in New York until 1977 when he retired at the aged of 37, having scored 37 goals in 64 matches.

Pele’s 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which include friendlies, is recognised as a Guinness World Record.

He was the record scorer for Brazil’s national team with 77 goals from 92 appearances until recently when Neymar surpassed his tally.

In December 2000, Pele and Diego Maradona were jointly named by FIFA as the Players of the Century.

Pele also dabbled in politics and acting, working as Brazil’s minister of sports from 1995 to 1998, and appearing in the 1981 film ‘Escape to Victory’, about a World War II-era football match between Allied prisoners of war and a German team.

He starred alongside other footballers of the 1960s and 1970s, with actors Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone.

He had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021 and had been hospitalised in Sao Paulo for the few weeks with other ailments before his passing tonight.

Comments are closed.

Naija Times