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Montevideo, March 22nd 2023 - 12:13 UTC



Football legend Pelé dies aged 82

Thursday, December 29th 2022 - 20:07 UTC
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Pelé remains the only player ever to have won three World Cups and the youngest to lift a world trophy Pelé remains the only player ever to have won three World Cups and the youngest to lift a world trophy

Brazil's best footballer of all time and arguably still unmatched, has died Thursday in Sao Paulo where he had been hospitalized a month ago to undergo cancer treatment. His agent, Joe Fraga, confirmed his passing. He was 82.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in the small town of Três Corações, in the state of Minas Gerais, on October 23, 1940, he used to shine shoes to buy his first football gear. At age 11, he moved to Santos to join the local club's junior teams, making his First Division debut at the age of 16 in 1956.

Pelé's nickname stemmed from his inability at a certain age to pronounce the name of a player of his younger years called Bilé.

At age 17 he was summoned to the national team to participate in the 1958 World Cup. Originally he was to sit on the bench but eventually became the key to the South American squad's first star eight years after losing the title match at home in Rio de Janeiro.

Pele's first goal in the 1958 final against hosts Sweden is still considered one of the best in the history of the World Cup.

Brazil eventually won 5-2 with two goals from Pelé, who remains to this day the only player ever to have won three World Cups and the youngest to lift a world trophy.

As a player, his talent is usually compared to that of the late Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo. At any rate, he was the first football megastar.

He could only play two games at the 1962 World Cup in Chile, where Brazil retained their crown, but was back in form for the third title in Mexico 1970, scoring once again in the 4-1 win against Italy in the championship match at the Azteca Stadium, where Maradona made history in 1986.

His fame was such that the sides in Nigeria's civil war agreed to a ceasefire in 1967 so that Pelé could play in an exhibition match in the African country.

Despite his African ethnicity, Pelé rarely spoke of racism. “He has been key to the pride of black people in Brazil, but he never wanted to be a flag bearer,” Pele biographer Angelica Basthi once said.

After his retirement in 1977, Pelé became an ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and participated in several entertainment features.

As his health deteriorated, his public appearances became less frequent and in recent years he was often seen in a wheelchair.

Pelé collected 114 caps scoring 95 goals. After the 1972 season with Santos, the Brazilian government stepped in so that he would not be transferred to any European club because he was considered a national asset.

Under Pelé, Brazil became famous for their “jogo bonito” (beautiful play). In his 1977 autobiography, Pelé made the expression a part of the world soccer lexicon, titling it “My Life and the Jogo Bonito”.

In 1975, aged 34 and past his prime, Pelé joined the New York Cosmos in a move to boost football in that country. He led the team to the league title in 1977 and scored 64 goals in three seasons.

Pelé's farewell match was played on Oct. 1, 1977. It was a friendly clash between Cosmos and Santos before a crowd of 77,000. Pelé played one half for each team.

Categories: Brazil, Entertainment.
Tags: Pele.

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  • Brasileiro

    Pele will always be in my memory. I am proud to have been his contemporary.

    He elevated the name Brazil more than any other.

    Dec 30th, 2022 - 01:07 pm 0
  • Liberato

    Rest in Peace O Rey. One of the two best players in world history. He turned Futbol into an art.
    Taking rivality aside, Even Maradona admired him and praised him as the best futbol player in history.

    Dec 30th, 2022 - 10:28 pm 0
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