Brazilian footballing icon Pele passed away at the age of 82 in his native country after a battle with cancer.
Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital, where he was undergoing treatment, confirmed that he died “due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition.”
Pele’s admission to the hospital raised alarm bells all over the world before his daughter assured the admirers that nothing was serious. However, over his moth long stay, his health worsened.
Considered to be one of the greatest players to ever touch a football, Pele, in many ways, represented a dream of every native Brazilian. He grew up in poverty but became a magician with the ball at his feet to put not only himself but his country on the footballing map of the world.
He set numerous records during his playing career, none more impressive than being the only player in the history of the sport to win three World Cups.
During a 21-year career, he scored between 1,281 and 1,283 goals, as his number of matches remains an issue of dispute.
Pele also won two Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League, and two Intercontinental Cups, the annual tournament held between the best teams in Europe and South America.
The World Pays tribute to the King:
The news of Pele’s death brought condolences from around the globe.
Tributes poured in from across the worlds of sport, politics and popular culture for the man who epitomized Brazil’s dominance of the beautiful game.
Outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro declared three days of mourning, and said in a statement that Pele was “a great citizen and patriot, raising the name of Brazil wherever he went.”
Brazil’s CBF federation issued a statement saying “Pele was much more than the greatest sportsman of all time… The King of Soccer was the ultimate exponent of a victorious Brazil.”
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Kylian Mbappe were among the millions of fans and players who also sent prayers towards Pele’s family.
Pele and Maradona reunited:
For decades a debate raged on about who was the better player between the two. Diego Maradona passed away in 2020 and now his greatest rival/friend joins him two years later.
Their departure is a stark reminder to enjoy greatness while it lasts.
Messi and Ronaldo inherited their debate, but with both heading towards the end of their careers as well, we may never get to see another pair achieve such success in the game ever again.
The history of football will never be the same again after today.
Pele will be buried in Santos in a private ceremony.