Pelé 1940 – 2022. Image: AP
Brazilian football legend Pele died on Thursday at the age of 82 after a long battle with colon cancer. One of the most prolific talents in the history of the ‘beautiful game’, Pelé is still dubbed the ‘King of Football’. ” Pelé’s supreme talent transcended the world and, generations later, is still considered the gold standard for the sport he dominated for two decades.
Pelé’s debut at the 1958 World Cup at the age of 17 culminated in the phenom scoring twice in Brazil’s 5-2 win over hosts Sweden in the final. In his heyday, Pelé was a catalyst for three national teams to win the World Cup and still remains the top scorer for the sacred Brazil team with 77 goals in 92 games. Brazil’s 1970 World Cup victory ended with the now iconic image of the sport’s greatest champion being carried off the pitch on the shoulders of his teammates.
Pelé spent most of his domestic career for Brazilian club Santos FC, scoring 1,091 goals and guiding them to 21 titles. In his final years, Pelé became the world’s highest-paid athlete when he signed with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League in 1975, earned the NASL MVP in 1976, and reignited America’s dormant interest in soccer. Rumors circulated that Pelé was in hospice during the World Cup, however these rumors were refuted by his family. This time his death was confirmed by his agent Joe Fraga.
We recommend you take a few hours today to watch Victory or even Hotshot of the 80s soccer kids. Pele would want it.
The sports world, meanwhile, reacted immediately to the news of Pelé’s death: