Global soccer icon Pelé passes away at age 82
Pelé, who is widely regarded as one the greatest – if not the single greatest – soccer players of all time, has passed away at the age of 82. A post was shared on Pelé’s official Instagram page honoring the man who is referred to as the ‘King of Football’.
During his legendary career, the Brazilian phenom won three World Cups with his home country, in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He is the only player to achieve the feat three different times. He scored over 1,000 goals in his career. In 1999, he was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee.
Universally known by his nickname of Pelé, his full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento. He was born in Brazil in 1940 and began his professional career at the age of 15, playing for Santos FC in Brazil. Pelé is known for his exceptional skill and finesse on the soccer field, and he is credited with helping to popularize the sport around the world.
Current Brazilian star Neymar was one of many across the global soccer landscape to honor Pelé upon his death, sharing the message below on Instagram. See the full post here. ESPN FC also shared a sampling of farewell messages from notable figures across the soccer world, which can be seen here.
🎙Neymar on Instagram:
“Before Pele, 10 was just a number. Before Pele, football was just a sport. He turned football into art, into entertainment. He gave a voice to the poor, to blacks, and visibility to Brazil. He is gone, but his magic remains. Pele is FOREVER.” pic.twitter.com/5I97KPQ3vU
— Brasil Football 🇧🇷 (@BrasilEdition) December 29, 2022
See below for a timeline of Pele’s legendary career.
- 1956: Pelé begins his professional soccer career with Santos FC in Brazil at the age of 15.
- 1958: Pelé becomes the youngest player to appear in a World Cup match when he plays for Brazil in the tournament in Sweden.
- 1959: Pelé scores his 100th goal for Santos FC.
- 1962: Pelé leads Brazil to its first World Cup victory, scoring two goals in the final match against Czechoslovakia.
- 1963: Pelé is named South American Footballer of the Year for the first time.
- 1966: Pelé leads Brazil to its second World Cup victory, scoring four goals in the tournament.
- 1970: Pelé leads Brazil to its third World Cup victory, scoring one goal in the tournament.
- 1972: Pelé retires from the Brazilian national team.
- 1973: Pelé signs with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.
- 1977: Pelé retires from professional soccer.
- 1981: Pelé is inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
- 1997: Pelé is named one of the 125 greatest living soccer players by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.
- 1998: Pelé is named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
- 1999: Pelé is named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee.
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