One of the world’s most iconic football players, and arguably the most influential of his time, Pelé, passed away at the age of 82 on Thursday, December 29, 2022.
In late November, Pelé experienced some complications related to his colon cancer, resulting in a respiratory infection that landed him in the hospital. According to sources, his condition began to worsen last week, and last night, he died due to multiple organ failures caused by his cancer.
Since the news broke, tributes to the football legend have been an outpouring on all social media platforms.
“Pelé changed everything,” fellow Brazilian footballer Neymar wrote on his Instagram. “He transformed football into art, entertainment. Football and Brazil elevated their standing thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will endure. Pelé is eternal!”
Pelé has been an icon for football for over 60 years — FIFA has even called him “the greatest of them all” — especially for his country. He won three World Cup titles and became the first icon of football, his name synonymous with the sport.
When he was 17 years old, Pelé was the youngest player to compete in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, where Brazil made it all the way to the final, where against the hosts themselves, he scored two goals in the country’s 5-2 victory. After this, Brazil dubbed him “The King.”
But it wasn’t just Pelé’s success and titles that made him iconic, it was his style of football. Watching him on the field, he stood out with his quick but fluid style of play. It was almost dance-like, and it revolutionized the way Brazilians perform on the pitch.
Truly, Pelé has been one of the most influential football players of all time, and there is no doubt that his legacy will live on for generations to come.
Banner images from Manchester United on Twitter.