Brazilian football legend Pele dies at 82

Reuters, Sao Paulo

Brazilian football legend Pele waves during the international friendly football match between Algeria and Slovenia in Algiers, Algeria, on March 5, 2014. (Reuters)

Pele, the legendary Brazilian football player who rose from barefoot poverty to become one of the greatest and best-known athletes in modern history, died on Thursday at the age of 82.

The death of the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player was confirmed by his daughter Kely Nascimento on Instagram.

Pele had been undergoing chemotherapy on a regular basis since he had a tumor removed from his colon in September 2021.

He also had difficulty walking unaided since an unsuccessful hip operation in 2012. In February 2020, on the eve of the coronavirus pandemic, his son Edinho said Pele’s ailing physical state had left him depressed.

Pele, whose given name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, joined Santos in 1956 and turned the small coastal club into one of the most famous names in football.

In addition to a host of regional and national titles, he won two Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League, and two Intercontinental Cups, the annual tournament held between the best teams in Europe and South America.

He took home three World Cup winner’s medals, the first time as a 17-year-old in Sweden in 1958, the second in Chile four years later – even though he missed most of the tournament through injury – and the third in Mexico in 1970, when he led what is considered to be one of the greatest sides ever to play the game.

He retired from Santos in 1974 but a year later made a surprise comeback by signing a lucrative deal to join the New York Cosmos in the then nascent North American Soccer League.

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About Joel Cholo Brooks 13601 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.
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