Tributes paid to « King » Pelé – RT Sport News
Figures from the world of football and beyond have shared messages of condolence
Tributes poured in for Brazilian soccer legend Pele, who died aged 82 on Thursday. Considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, Pele has won the World Cup three times during his remarkable career – the only man to achieve this feat.
Pelé’s death has been confirmed by his family and officials at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, where he was admitted for treatment in late November as part of his battle with colon cancer.
Pelé’s daughter, Kely Nascimento, one of his seven children, shared a post on social media of family members holding hands with the football icon in his hospital bed.
« Everything we are is because of you. We love you so much. Rest in peace, » wrote Nascimento.
The news of Pelé’s death sparked a wave of mourning in his native country and far beyond.
Current Brazilian star Neymar – who shares the record with Pele as the national team’s all-time top scorer with 77 goals – has hailed Pele’s transformational impact on football.
“Pele changed everything. He turned football into art, into entertainment. Football and Brazil have raised their rank thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will endure. Pelé is eternal! Neymar wrote in a message to his 199 million Instagram followers.
Cristiano Ronaldo also paid tribute to the man known as ‘King’.
« My sincere condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) », wrote the fivefold Ballon d’Or.
« The love you always showed me was reciprocated in every moment we shared, even from a distance.
« He will never be forgotten and his memory will live forever in all of us football lovers.
« Rest in peace King Pele. »
The Argentina team were recently praised by Pelé for their World Cup success in Qatar, and captain Lionel Messi shared a tribute with photos of him alongside the Brazilian great.
« Rest in peace, » read a message from Messi.
Like Pelé – who propelled Brazil to their first World Cup title in 1958 aged just 17 – French star Kylian Mbappe is another player to have lit up the tournament as a teenager.
Mbappe shared a moving tribute on Twitter with a photo of him and Pelé smiling.
« The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING, » writes the French striker.
In Russia, the national football team’s social media accounts shared an image of Pele alongside the late Lev Yashin – a man considered by many to be the greatest goalkeeper to ever play football.
On a political level, Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva paid tribute noting Pelé’s impact on promoting his country in the world as the world’s first footballing megastar.
“Few Brazilians have taken our country’s name as far as he did… He didn’t just play. He put on a full show. Thank you, Pelé,” writes the leader.
One of Brazil’s most famous landmarks – the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro – was lit up in the national colors on Thursday as a show of respect for the late soccer icon.
Brazil has announced three days of mourning.
Pelé’s body will be removed from the Albert Einstein Hospital on Monday at dawn, and his coffin will then be placed in the center of the field at the Vila Belmiro stadium.
The stadium is home to Santos football club – where Pelé spent the vast majority of his career during which he scored over 1,200 goals.
Pele’s body will remain there for 24 hours as fans pay their respects, before a parade carries his coffin through the streets – including outside the home of his 100-year-old mother Celeste – for a private burial at the Memorial Necropolis Ecumenica in Santos.