“We love you infinitely. Rest in peace”, published his daughter Kely Nascimento on his Instagram account from the Albert Einstein Hospital, where Pelé was admitted on November 29 to reassess his treatment.
The medical center had announced last week that the colon cancer he suffered from had advanced and that the star presented “renal and cardiac dysfunctions”.
The only footballer in the world to win three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), ‘O Rei’ had been away from public events for years due to hip problems. In September 2021, he was diagnosed with cancer after the removal of a colon tumor.
However, in his limited appearances, most of them in videos posted on his social networks, the first global figure in soccer kept his charisma and humor intact. And he continued supporting his ‘Seleçao’, as in the recent World Cup in Qatar, where the ‘verdeamarela’ dedicated their victory in the round of 16 against Korea.
His daughter Kely had published some photos watching the World Cup matches on the hospital television. On the eve of last Christmas, she shared a photo snuggled in her father’s arms in his hospital bed, showing only part of Pelé’s face, wearing what appeared to be a nasal oxygen cannula.
Like the sudden death of Diego Maradona in November 2020, Pelé’s death is a new shock for soccer fans.
His tremendous goal-scoring nose, his unparalleled technique and a bulging record made legions consider him the best footballer in history, a title who for years disputed with Maradona, and who is now joined by the star Lionel Messi, crowned world champion in Qatar.
In 2000, the Brazilian, who cemented his legend at Santos in Brazil, where he played for 18 years, He was chosen as the best soccer player of the 20th century by FIFA experts, while El Pelusa obtained the same rank in the popular vote.
“I hope that one day we can play soccer together in heaven,” he said when the Pibe de Oro died.
The death of the former striker leaves the world without its first football legends after the deaths of Maradona, Alfredo Di Stéfano and Johan Cruyff in the second decade of the 21st century.
– Overall figure –
In addition to internationalizing Brazil and turning the 10 jacket into a legend, much of the credit goes to ‘O Rei’, born on October 23, 1940 into a poor family in the city of Três Corações, in the state of Minas Gerais. , is consigned in his superlative performances in the world championships.
Pelé is the only footballer to have won three World Cups, although in Chile 1962 he was injured early and left the role to Garrincha, another soccer monster.
He set some records in those tournaments and starred in unforgettable stunts and goals, such as the header in the final against Italy in Mexico 1970, which was the crowning glory of the many consider the best soccer team in history with figures like Tostao, Jairzinho or Rivellino.
In his large scroll he left other records recorded: in the World Cup in Sweden-1958, at the age of 17, he became the youngest player to play in the final, to score in the final instance and to win that tournament, the first that Brazil won.
And a tremendous scoring record -although questioned because it includes unofficial games- of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games in a 21-year sports career, in which he only wore three uniforms: Santos (1956-1974), Cosmos New York (1975-1977) and the ‘Seleçao’ (1957-1971).
– Multifaceted life –
The ‘Peixe’, where he made his debut at the age of 15, owes the star six of his eight league titles, two of his three Libertadores and his two Intercontinentals. And the ‘Canarinha’ recognized him as their top scorer with 77 goals, until star Neymar matched him at the World Cup in Qatar.
Although he shunned scandals and took pains to show a good image, throughout his career many criticized him for not opposing the military dictatorship Brazilian (1964-1985) and his tenuous support for the anti-racist struggle in his country.
He himself admitted a large number of love affairs and the existence of two extramarital children, one of which he was forced to acknowledge by court order.
His success transcended other spheres. He was a composer, singer, actor and extraordinary Minister of Sports of Brazil (1995-1998). He was married three times and was the father of seven children.
“To say that I lacked something to do would be a very great ingratitude (…) I only needed to go to the moon,” he told FIFA in October 2020.
His death leaves football with ten.