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(Photo by Franck Fife/AFP / Getty Images)

Brazil Legend Pelé has Passed Away

(Photo by Franck Fife/AFP / Getty Images)

Brazil Legend Pelé has Passed Away

Arguably the greatest football player ever Edson Arantes do Nascimento better known as Pelé passed away on Thursday after a series of health issues relating to colon cancer. Pelé was 82 years old and was in a hospital in Sao Paulo for the last month. His daughter, Kely Nascimento, announced her father’s death on Instagram.

The football world lost a true legend in Pelé. He single-handedly helped Brazil win three World Cups while being the youngest player to both win and score at a World Cup. At only 17 years old Pelé changed the sport as we know it when he led Brazil to the 1958 World Cup title.

The Brazilian star played the majority of his club football for Santos in Brazil before finishing his career with the New York Cosmos. From 1956 to 1974 Pelé played in 636 matches for Santos scoring 618 goals while winning multiple league titles and Copa Libertadores titles. 

While his club football career was iconic it was what Pelé did for Brazil that propelled him to fame. The 1958 World Cup was the first of three that Pelé won with Brazil along with 1962 and 1970. These wins put Brazil at the forefront of the football world. Pelé scored 77 goals for Brazil which is tied with Neymar for the most in the iconic yellow shirt. 

Pelé was never born to be a star but worked his way through the streets of the small town of Três Corações in southeast Brazil. As a young boy, he played in the streets of Brazil and earned the nickname Pelé. He grew up being taught by his father who had played professionally. 

It was the humble beginning that connected Pelé with fans all around the world. However, it was his play on the pitch that drew everyone in. Along with Diego Maradona, Pelé was named FIFA Player of the Century in 2000. 

Pelé, while playing only three seasons in New York was a large part in the initial growth of the American leagues. After seeing him play in the North American Soccer League (NASL) other icons of the sport started to play in the U.S. 

At the Cosmos, Pelé led them to the 1977 Soccer Bowl title in what was his final professional match. To show what Pelé meant for football in the U.S. take into account that his last match was played in front of over 77,000 people. 

When his career ended Pelé’s work did not. Throughout the 1990s Pelé was involved in charity work as an ambassador for UNESCO Goodwill. In 1995 he was named the Minister of Sport in Brazil. As a result, he was named to the Time list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. 

Following the death of Maradona in 2020, Pelé tweeted the comment “One day, I hope we can play ball together in heaven.” Sadly that day has finally come for Pelé to join Maradona. 

RIP to a true sporting legend. 


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