2022-12-29 · 3 min read · FIFA World Cup/Soccer
Pelé, Celebrated Brazilian Soccer Legend, Dead at 82

AFP | Liverpool FC via Getty

Weeks after the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup, one of the most iconic figures in the history of Soccer has died.
Pele was known the world over as “The King”, helping Brazil win three World Cups, the only player in the history of the sport to achieve that feat.
The Brazilian superstar had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021.
The medical centre where he was hospitalized said that the icon died due to multiple organ failure as a result of his cancer; he was 82.
He was the first global superstar of the beautiful game, bursting onto the scene at the 1958 finals in Sweden, winning the World Cup at the ripe old age of 17, scoring twice in the decisive game and becoming the youngest player to ever score in final, a record that still stands to this day.
His name has become synonymous with Soccer across the globe for over 60 years, as the man born Edson Arantes do Nascimento mesmerized fans and players with his signature moves, grace, athleticism and nose for the goal.
Different sources counting different sets of his games list his goals total anywhere between 650 (league matches) and 1,281 (all senior matches, some against low-level competition.).
The man born in the small municipality of Tres Coracoes in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais was a revered icon in the sport.
He played most of his club career at Santos in Brazil, scoring his first goal with the team before turning 16.
He would feature with them from 1956-1974, helping them win the domestic title six times, plus back-to-back Copa Libertadores trophies in 1962 and 1963, the tournament featuring the top club teams across South America.
Pele rarely featured when Brazil won the 1962 World Cup in Chile and he had a rough go of it due to injuries in 1966, but he was a part of perhaps the greatest team ever assembled in the competition’s history in Mexico 1970 as he scored four goals including one in the final when they defeated Italy 4-1.
The King played 114 matches for his national team scoring 95 goals, though only 77 were considered official games, a record for the national team that was equalled by another former Santos star, Neymar, at this year’s World Cup.
Following his illustrious career in Brazil, he played for the New York Cosmos in 1975, helping to grow the sport in North America, winning the Soccer Bowl with them as the top team in the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1977.
His time in the NASL would take him to Canada, where a club-record crowd of 21,721 attended Varsity Stadium when Pele’s Cosmos faced Toronto Metros-Croatia (later the Blizzard) in July 1975.
There was a record 26,495 watching earlier that month when New York edged the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 at Empire Stadium.
While on the field, he made it all look so easy, his personal life was anything but that, notably when his son Edinho was arrested on drug-related charges.
The King had two daughters out of wedlock, plus five children from his first two marriages.
Long after his retirement, Pele remained in the public eye serving as a Goodwill UNICEF ambassador for years, promoting peace and support for vulnerable children.
“All that we are is thanks to you,” his daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram. “We love you endlessly. Rest in peace.”
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre


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