Brazil football legend Pelé passes away age 82


Considered by many as the greatest-ever footballer, three-time World Cup winner Pelé has passed away at the age of 82 after a long battle with cancer.

Pelé, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, was admitted to the Albert Einstein hospital in São Paulo in November 2022 to treat a respiratory infection and reassess chemotherapy, however his health continuously deteriorated and affected his kidneys and heart.


Born on 3 October 1940 in Três Corações, Minas Gerais, Pelé father followed in his father's footsteps, who was also a football player but was forced to retire when he fractured his leg.

He grew up in poverty and used to polish shoes to help contribute to the family income. The boy showed great interest for football though and was playing for a local minor league club when he got his first break.

The 11-year-old caught the eye of early Brazilian football legend Waldemar de Brito. Brito is said to have presented the young boy to skeptical directors at Santos, boldly stating that Pelé would be the greatest soccer player in the world.

Pelé proved himself to Santos when, at the age of 16, he scored a goal in his very first top team match, against Corinthians FC.

However, the Brazilian would be famous all over the world when a 17-year-old Pelé scored six goals during the 1958 World Cup, thereby leading his national team to victory. Brazil won its first World Cup that year.

With word of his brilliant performances spreading like wildfire, and a wide range of sports clubs showing unmasked interest in having Pelé play for them, Brazil declared its star soccer player a national treasure, thereby barring him from playing for any non-Brazilian club or corporation.

He was a vision when on the field, with his agile 5 ft. 8 inches frame swiftly running across the arena, his deft feet expertly dribbling the ball. Besides being hailed for his extraordinary command on the ball and powerful kicks, Pele also commanded admiration for his powerful head shots.

In 1962, Pelé was unable to play alongside his team during World Cup as he sustained severe injuries during the first match of the tournament. However, in 1970, Pelé led his team to win what would be the 3rd World Cup for his nation.

In all, the master footballer scored 1,280 goals, and is second only to Arthur Friedenreich, another Brazilian soccer player with 1,329 goals to his name.


Pelé’s average worked out to one goal at every international game. 92 hat tricks and 97 international goals are the statistics that place his at the top of his game, with his statistics being the highest ever.

After he retired, Pelé returned to active soccer for a short span of 2 years to promote soccer in North America. He played in the North American Soccer League to attract the interest of millions of Americans towards the “beautiful game".

He played an exhibition game between Cosmos and Santos, playing for the former during the first half, and for the latter team during the second half. He used his popularity to spread the message of love and peace among the followers of the game, and had crowds chanting “Love! Love! Love!” during the exhibition match.

Pelé invested a lot of time and effort to advance the popularity of soccer. He penned autobiographies, and even starred in various documentary and semi-documentary films that focused on soccer, or on his life as a soccer player.


Towards the end of his soccer career, Pelé also went to display his acting skills, and he is also a musician. His other talents, too, were invested to promote soccer and goodwill among populations.

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