Sports Writing (EFE).- The world was shocked this Thursday with the announcement of the death, at the age of 82, of Edson Arantes do Nascimento ‘pele’for many the king of footballa sport in which its most emblematic representatives coincided in calling the greatest idol of Brazilians “eternal”.
Pelé died this Thursday at the Sao Paulo hospital, where he had been admitted for a month, due to multi-organ failure caused by colon cancer that was diagnosed in 2021.
The news of the death unleashed an avalanche of heartfelt reactions across the planet, all framed by expressions of respect, affection, reverence and admiration.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) had to admit that the departure of ‘o Rei’ is “the saddest news” reported by the entity since its foundation, 108 years ago.
Because of Pelé’s death, the president of the CBF, Ednaldo Rodrigues, decreed “official mourning for seven days.”
Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo, who was Pelé’s teammate in the conquest of the World Cups in Sweden’58 and Chile’62, and his coach in Mexico’70, said goodbye this Thursday with a public declaration of love to the “greatest player of all ».
“Thank you for everything, Pele. you are eternal I love you,” said Zagallo, 91.
The ‘old Wolf’ said that Pelé was “the person who stopped the world several times. The person who made the shirt 10 the most respected »and a Brazilian who defended his country« throughout the world ».
“My greatest partner left and with that smile, I will keep you with me,” added Zagallo, the only one in the world to have won four world titles, two as a player (1958 and 1962), one as a coach (1970) and another as an assistant. technical (1994).
Luiz Felipe Scolari, another coach who led Brazil to the conquest of a World Cup, in 2002, surrendered to the technical repertoire that his compatriot had.
«If we had to point out just one of Pelé’s qualities, it would be impossible. He had all the qualities that a professional athlete needs to be king,” said ‘Felipao’.
HONORS FROM ALL GENERATIONS
Romário and Bebeto, the famous striker pairing that led the Canarinha to the 1994 world title, also praised Pelé.
Romário de Souza Farias, who after hanging up his boots has had an outstanding political career since the position of senator, affirmed that Pelé was one of the “most illustrious sons” of his country.
“He made the world bow down to his talent” and “he brought Brazilian soccer to the altar of the gods,” he added.
José Roberto Gama de Oliveira ‘Bebeto’ stated that Pelé “was part of everyone’s history”.
“I can’t find the right words and I don’t even know if they exist,” said the former Deportivo de La Coruña player. “Pelé took our football to the world and opened frontiers for all of us. Thank you for your love, thank you for so much, you are eternal!” He added.
Ronaldo and Rivaldo, two figures from a generation that also won the World Cup, in 2002, also did not spare praise to recognize the path that Pelé opened for the Brazilians.
Ronaldo Luiz Nazário de Lima defined the illustrious son of Tres hearts (Three Hearts) with five words: «Unique. Brilliant. Creative. Perfect. Unmatched.”
«The king of soccer. Only one. The greatest of all time. The world of mourning and the sadness of the farewell mixed with the immense pride of written history,” added Ronaldo.
Vito Rivaldo Borba Ferreira stated that Brazilian football is known and respected worldwide thanks to Pelé.
“I am proud to have played two World Cups with the number 10, which was consecrated by him,” said Rivaldo.
Two exponents of the current generation of Canarinha players, Neymar and Casemiro, thanked ‘o Rei’ for the revolution he introduced in football.
“Rest in peace, King Pelé. Thank you for the glory you gave to Brazil and soccer. Your legacy is eternal, “wrote the captain of the ‘verdeamarela’ Casemiro several times on his Twitter account.
Neymar, who, like Pelé, gave the Santos club worldwide visibility, stated that the three-time world champion “changed everything.”
«He transformed football into art, into entertainment. He gave a voice to the poor and the blacks, and, above all, he gave visibility to Brazil”, added the PSG player.
PRAISE WITHOUT BORDERS
The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) led an avalanche of heartfelt reactions from the official entities that run football in the countries of the region.
“The star of O Rei, the first 10, the player with the most World Cups, already illuminates the sky,” Conmebol published on its Twitter account.
In separate messages in Spanish and Portuguese, the entity, which brings together the federations of ten countries, thanked Pelé “for putting South America at the top.”
“We will miss you. You will always shine in our hearts. Eternal Glory to the King,” he added.
In the United States, the country where Pelé concluded his brilliant soccer career, the reactions literally went from earth to space.
The US space agency (NASA) fired the soccer star with the photograph of a constellation in the colors of the Brazilian flag.
ADMIRATION THAT TRANSCENDS THE COSMOS
NASA regretted in a message on Twitter the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, whom it remembered as the “king of ‘jogo bonito'”, a term popularized by the Canarinha team during the 1970s and which had its climax in the Mexico World Cup.
NASA accompanied its message with a photograph of “a spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor” that shows the colors of the Brazilian flag, known as the “auriverde” for being yellow and green.
The New York Cosmos club, where the legend ended his career in 1977, expressed its condolences and stated that the name Pelé “will always be synonymous with art and genius.”
“The New York Cosmos family, past and present, mourns the loss of sports icon Pelé,” announced the New York club, for which Pelé played for two seasons.
Pelé signed for Cosmos in 1975 and in his two and a half years in New York he scored 37 goals in 64 games and won the 1977 North American Football League (NASL).
RIVALRY THAT GRANDS
From Argentina, the bitterest rivals of the Brazilians in soccer, the captain of the last world champion Albiceleste team and the first coach who led them to their first conquest expressed their respects.
Lionel Messi fired Edson Arantes do Nascimento this Thursday with a brief message on his social networks in which he wrote a “rest in peace” accompanied by two photos with him and another of a young ‘O Rei’ in his time as a player.
“Rest in peace, @pele”, wrote the Albiceleste captain on his official network accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
More eloquently, the former Argentine soccer player and coach César Luis Menotti remembered Pelé as “the greatest” player on the pitch and also as a great teammate.
“Pele was the greatest of all. For me, it is incomparable. It is very difficult for another Pelé to appear,” said the coach who led Argentina to the conquest of the 978 World Cup.
“There was no one like Pelé,” stressed ‘el Flaco’ Menotti, 83, who in his career as a soccer player had his time in Brazilian soccer, which began in 1968 at Pelé’s Santos, winner of the Paulista Championship that year.
Former Argentine soccer player Osvaldo César Ardiles assured that Pelé was a “unique” player, like a “ballet figure” on the pitch, who turned soccer into an “art.”
“Pelé was an absolutely unique figure. He changes football, he makes it incredibly international, he makes football beautiful, he makes it an art,” he said.
The Uruguayan Víctor Espárrago, one of the footballers who faced Pelé on the edge of the regulation, recalled an anecdote that occurred in a match between the two teams played in Argentina.
«Julio Montero Castillo was playing with us and kicked Pelé from behind. Pelé turns around and tells him: Don’t hit from behind, hit from the front, always”, he said to highlight the tough character that the Brazilian had when facing hard markings.
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao García also joined the expressions of sadness at the departure of the legendary former soccer player.
“Your legacy will remain forever inscribed in the hearts of thousands of soccer fans across the planet. My condolences and a prayer for friends and family,” added ‘el Tigre’. EFE