Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, one of the world’s greatest players from all times, dubbed “The King,” died Thursday aged 82 at Albert Einstein Hospital. He had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. Different sources, counting different sets of games, list Pelé’s goal totals anywhere between 650 (league matches) and 1,281. Pelé played 114 matches with Brazil. He won a record three World Cups. No one else combined his speed and dribbling skills and the ability to shoot with both feet. He was considered a Brazilian ‘national treasure.’
By the end of his 21-year professional career, Pelé had also become an international icon. Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, in the small city of Tres Coracoes in the interior of Minas Gerais state ,Pelé was introduced to the world at 17 at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, the youngest player ever at the tournament. He was the emblem of his country’s World Cup triumph of 1970 in Mexico. Pelé ended his career on Oct. 1, 1977. After soccer, Pelé was Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister for Sport, a wealthy businessman, and an ambassador for UNESCO and the United Nations. He had roles in movies. Now, footballing greats and the world pay tribute to Pelé.