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Pelé, the Legendary Brazilian “King of Soccer,” Died on Thursday at the Age of 82

There was none more powerful in stature than Pelé in the soccer world. It has been reported that Pelé has left the field permanently at the age of 82.

As per the Associated Press (AP):

“SÃO PAULO (AP) — Pelé, the Brazilian king of soccer who won a record three World Cups and became one of the most commanding sports figures of the last century, died Thursday. He was 82.

“The standard-bearer of ‘the beautiful game’ had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The medical center where he had been hospitalized for the last month said he died of multiple organ failure as a result of the cancer.

“‘Pelé changed everything. He transformed football into art, entertainment,’ Neymar, a fellow Brazilian soccer player, said on Instagram. ‘Football and Brazil elevated their standing thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will endure. Pelé is eternal!’”

It speaks volumes about the player that in his dazzling career he received seven Golden Ball awards (“Balones de Oro” in his native Portuguese), which are given to the top player in a championship. There’s no question that his capacity to achieve goals was of primary importance. 

According to the AP's report:

“Different sources, counting different sets of games, list Pelé’s goal totals anywhere between 650 (league matches) and 1,281 (all senior matches, some against low-level competition.)

“The player who would be dubbed ‘The King’ was introduced to the world at 17 at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, the youngest player ever at the tournament. He was carried off the field on teammates’ shoulders after scoring two goals in Brazil’s 5-2 victory over the host country in the final.”

Fox News provided more details on how he aided his teams during the World Cup:

“Pelé helped Brazil to two more World Cup trophies—at the 1962 World Cup in Chile and 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Brazil crashed out in the first round of the 1966 World Cup in England, having only played three matches.”

Fox News also shared a glimpse of the admiration others held for the star athlete, such as in an anecdote about war as well as his encounter with former President Ronald Reagan:

“Throughout the years, the legend of Pelé continued to grow—so much so, that in the late 1960s, the two factions in the Nigerian Civil War reportedly agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire so they could watch Pelé play in an exhibition game in Lagos.

“Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan summarized Pelé’s stardom when the soccer star visited him at the White House and he said: ‘My name is Ronald Reagan, I’m the president of the United States of America. But you don’t need to introduce yourself, because everyone knows who Pelé is.’”

The report also stated the following: Pelé “is survived by his third wife, Marcia Aoki, six children from various relationships, and several grandchildren.”

French President Emmanuel Macron’s memorial message on social media reads, “The Game. The King. Forever.”

R.I.P., Pelé.

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