Brazil icons Neymar and Ronaldo lead tributes after ‘King Pele’ passes away aged 82


Tributes have been pouring in for Brazil legend Pele after passed away at the age of 82.

The legendary figure is widely regarded as one of, if not the greatest footballer to ever play the game. He had been suffering from kidney and prostate problems in recent years.

The Brazilian is the only player to lift the prestigious World Cup trophy three times, having won the competition in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He was named FIFA’s Player of the Century in 2000.

The former forward scored a reported world-record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances across his 21-year career, where he played for Santos and New York Cosmos. He also scored a phenomenal 77 goals in 92 matches for Brazil.

Tributes pour in for ‘King Pele’

The world of sport has been paying their tributes since Pele’s passing, including the likes of current Brazil star Neymar.

“Before Pele, football was only a sport,” said Neymar. “Pele changed everything. He turned football into art, into entertainment. He gave a voice to the poor, to black people.

“Mainly: he gave visibility to Brazil. Football and Brazil raised their status thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will remain.”

The legendary figures of Ronaldo and Cristiano Ronaldo have also paid their respects, with the former saying: “Unique. Genius. Technical. Creative. Perfect. Unequalled. Where Pele has gone, he has stayed. Never having left the top, he leaves us today. The king of football – one and only. The greatest of all time.”

The latter meanwhile commented: “A mere goodbye to the eternal King Pele will never be enough to express the pain that is enveloping the whole of the football world right now.

“The care he always showed for me was reciprocated in every moment we shared, even when we were apart. His memory will endure forever in every one of us who love football.”

And one of the game’s up-and-coming stars Erling Haaland also took a moment to remember the Brazil icon, saying: “Everything you see any player doing, Pele did it first. RIP.”

Sporting icons remember Brazilian hero

Figures from outside the world of football have also been sending special messages to the legendary Pele, such was his impact on sport in general.

The long, long list of those paying their respect includes tennis and snooker legends Rafael Nadal and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

“Today a world sport great is leaving again,” said Nadal. “A sad day for the world of football, for the world of sports. His legacy will always be with us.

“I didn’t watch him play, I wasn’t that lucky, but I was always taught and told that he was the King of football. Rest in Peace! The King!”

O’Sullivan noted: “A footballing legend but most of all what a man. Genuinely a lovely person I was honoured to meet. Remember, everything you see now in football, Pele did it first! RIP.”


World landmarks honour legendary Pele

The tributes have by no means been limited to people, with the arch above London’s Wembley Stadium lit up to remember the legendary Pele.

In his native Brazil, the Maracana stadium was illuminated with golden colours, while the Christ the Redeemer statue was illuminated with the colours of the Brazilian flag.

Pele’s image meanwhile has been displayed on a building in Asunción, Paraguay, and fittingly NASA has paid tribute by releasing an image of a spiral galaxy in the constellation, Sculptor, showing the colours of Brazil, highlighting just how out of this world the player really was.