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HomeSoccerFIFA World Cup (FIFA)FIFA News: Soccer legend Pele dies at 82

FIFA News: Soccer legend Pele dies at 82

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Soccer legend Pele, the only player to win three World Cups, died on Thursday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was 82.

Pele had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021. He had been hospitalized for the last month with multiple health issues.

His daughter, Kely Nascimento, confirmed his death Thursday on Instagram.

“Everything we are is because of you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace,” she wrote.

Pele, who is credited with coining the phrase “the beautiful game” to refer to soccer, helped his native Brazil win the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

He scored 77 goals in 92 career matches for the national team. That total was tied by Neymar at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, albeit in 124 matches.

Pele, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also won 10 league titles with his club team, Santos. At the end of his career, he played three seasons with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and won the title in 1977. He came to the United States on a mission to make soccer more popular in the country.

“Pele epitomized the beautiful game and spread the soccer gospel across the United States and around the world,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement. “One cannot imagine the sport — and the world — without him.”

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro declared three days of mourning for the nation to grieve Pele’s death.

“Pele had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement. “His life is about more than football. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and across the world. His legacy is impossible to summarize in words. Today, we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our dear Pele, but he achieved immortality a long time ago and therefore he will be with us for eternity.”

–Field Level Media

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