Messi, Ronaldo, Obama, Neymar, Chelsea, others mourn Pele’s death, pay tribute

December 30th, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Several football stars and world leaders are mourning the death of a true great player of the game who passed away on Thursday.

Brazil legend Pele 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.”

The tributes to the great man are here below:

FIFA, world football’s governing body, paid a lengthy tribute on their website to the Brazilian, entitled: “Pele: Immortal – forever with us.”

Outlining Pele’s various World Cup records and high points of his career, FIFA wrote: “They called him ‘The King’, and his face is one of the most recognisable in world football.

“The man in question is, of course, Pele, who was once named by FIFA as the greatest player of the 20th century.”

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.”

Germany great Franz Beckenbauer played with Pele in the late 1970s in the United States at the end of their playing careers.

Beckenbauer, Bayern Munich’s honorary president, wrote on the club’s website: “Today, football lost the greatest man in its history – and I lost a unique friend.

“Born in Tres Coracoes, Pele had three hearts: for football, for his family and for all people. Someone who played with the stars and always stayed down to earth.

“I went to the US in 1977 because I really wanted to play on a team with Pele at New York Cosmos. This time at his side was one of the greatest experiences of my career.

“We became champions together right away, and Pele then just called me his brother. It was an unimaginable honour for me. Football will always belong to you! You will always be here. Thank you for your game, O Rei!”

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.”

“One of the greatest to have graced the beautiful game,” read the tweet. “Farewell, Pele. You will never be forgotten.”

One of the greatest to have graced the beautiful game.

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 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!!”

Barack Obama: Pelé was one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. And as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, he understood the power of sports to bring people together. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone who loved and admired him.

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