He was born as Edson Arantes do Nascimento on October 23, 1940, but became known by a single, world-recognized word – Pelé.
Brazilian soccer legend Pele, winner of a record three World Cups, died Thursday at the age of 82 at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, where he had been since late November.
His agent, Joe Fraga, confirmed his death to The Associated Press, and his daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram, “We love you endlessly. Rest in peace.”
Pelé was hospitalized on November 29 to treat a respiratory infection aggravated by COVID-19. The soccer legend had also undergone treatment after having a colon tumor removed in September 2021. Medical officials said he died of multiple organ failure as a result of the cancer, according to The Associated. Press.
The Brazilian will forever be synonymous with greatness. He has won three World Cups, is one of the greatest goalscorers of all time and was jointly named FIFA Player of the 20th Century, along with Maradona, during a distinguished 22-year career that saw him to be considered the best of all time. Play the game.
In memory of those we have lost: Celebrity Deaths 2022
Yet Pele’s time in sport cannot be summed up in statistics, accolades or trophies. Quite simply, he transcended football, becoming its first true global superstar, with a level of fame that has remained almost as strong 40 years after his retirement as it was during his pumping game.
Beloved for his cheerful nature and for bringing a level of playful enjoyment to the beautiful game, his silky skill and inherent creative streak helped football emerge from a rather dark period in which defensiveness and tactical smothering had become Standard.
Modern greats such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the spiritual and philosophical descendants of Pelé, who had the ever-present drive to try boldness and had the raw ability to make it work. He showed the magic of brilliant footwork and exquisite ball control, this technique could trump brute force, this delicate movement and inspired thought was the most dangerous yet picturesque weapon Game.
Pelé, a World Cup sensation
A global audience got their first glimpse of Pelé at the 1958 World Cup, when he was 17 years old. After senior members of the Brazil squad put pressure on the coaching staff, Pelé was brought into the squad for the final stages of the tournament, and dominated.
His performance in the final was spectacular, scoring twice in a 5-2 win over hosts Sweden, including a shot off a defender followed by a powerful volley that remains one of the finest goals ever. history of the World Cup. It was brash, mischievous, perfect and helped clinch the title for Brazil – the only time a South American team has won a World Cup staged in Europe.
The world was duly alerted and international defenses quickly realized that the only way to stop Pelé was to kick him. Football at the time offered much less protection for experienced players and, as the most destructive striker in the world, he was the most obvious target.
His next two World Cup campaigns were marred by injury. Brazil managed to defend their title in 1962 despite their limited role, but they bounced back in the group stage in 1966, with Pelé again hampered by physical ailments.
He arguably saved his best for last on the biggest stage of them all. Brazil’s performance in winning the 1970 World Cup in Mexico was perhaps the greatest in history, a brilliant team led by the biggest star on the planet.
Pelé was 29 and starting to decline physically, but that didn’t stop him from destroying the competition. Brazil won each of their six matches, capped by a 4-1 demolition of Italy in the final.
How many goals has Pelé scored?
The number of goals scored during his career varies depending on the source, Pelé counted 1,283 goals for all matches played, official and unofficial. The Guinness Book of World Records ranks him as the world’s top scorer with 1,279 goals. That includes being Brazilian club Santos’ all-time top scorer with 643 goals in official matches, according to the club, and 77 international goals – tied with Neymar – according to FIFA.
Despite attempts by top European clubs to sign him, Pelé spent virtually his entire career with Santos, partly because he had been listed as a “national treasure” by the country’s politicians, meaning he couldn’t not be sold abroad.
However, in his football twilight he was drawn to play with the New York Cosmos in the fledgling North American Football League, spending three seasons in the Big Apple and often playing in front of packed crowds at Meadowlands.
For a time, along with other imports, such as Giorgio Chinaglia, he helped make the Cosmos New York’s hottest ticket, before the first American football boom turned into nothing more than a bankruptcy.
Pelé’s legacy is part of football history
Later in life, Pelé became a businessman and spokesperson for various businesses, leveraging his celebrity status to generate a steady stream of income.
Some in his homeland found the constant bragging of one of Brazil’s most beloved sons for a slew of business causes to be somewhat unedifying, but if nothing else, the endorsements kept him in view. from the public until his 70s, long after he hung up his boots.
Those who have encountered Pelé have regularly found two surprises. One was the real, genuine warmth of his nature. The other was his relatively slight stature, at 5ft 8in and not overly muscular.
Because in football he will be forever remembered as a giant, in terms of personality, ability and impact on the history of his sport.
The legend of Pelé is one of football’s eternal stories.