Pelé, Legendary Brazilian Footballer, Dies at 82

Pelé celebrating following Brazils 1970 World Cup Victory.

Wikimedia Commons

Pelé celebrating following Brazil’s 1970 World Cup Victory.

Azzurra Degliuomini, Editor

Pelé, the legendary Brazilian footballer and the King of the “Beautiful Game,” died on Thursday, December 29. He was 82.

Condolences and support have been pouring all over the internet by both fans and players alike.

“Where Pelé arrived, he stayed. Never having left the top, he leaves us today. King of football – number one. The greatest of all time.” says Ronaldo Nazario, Brazilian player, and 2002 World Cup Winner.

Pelé began his international career with a 2-1 defeat against Argentina. He scored that goal for Brazil at sixteen years and nine months, making him the youngest Brazilian goal scorer.

His first international tournament was the 1958 FIFA World Cup, where he became the youngest player to win the World Cup at just seventeen years and 249 days. In the following World Cup in 1962, Brazil would go on to win again, becoming the second country to win back-to-back tournaments behind Italy, which won its first two World Cups in 1934 and 1938.

Brazil would lose to Portugal in the 1966 World Cup, consequently getting them knocked out of the tournament, but the team went on to come back and win its third World Cup title in 1970.

Pelé remains the only player with three World Cup trophies under his belt.

Brazil’s Neymar Jr. points this out, as well. “Before Pelé, football was just a sport. Pelé changed anything. He gave visibility to Brazil.”

Pelé’s last international match was on July 18, 1971, against Yugoslavia.

He is known for connecting the “Beautiful Game” to the sport, and being a prolific and decisive goalscorer. Pelé scored many crucial game-winning goals in his career.

Following his career in football, Pelé went on to do work surrounding the game.

In 1994, he was appointed as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and the following year, Brazil’s President appointed him as the Extraordinary Minister for Sport. He proposed legislation that would reduce corruption in Brazilian football, later called the “Pelé Law.”

By the end of his career, it is reported that Pelé had scored a total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games. These range from friendlies to international tournaments.

Millions play this sport every day, and only a few can make it to the top. Even then, only a handful can be argued that they’re one of the greatest of all time.

The fact still remains, though. The only undisputed player that everyone can agree is the Greatest of all Time is Pelé. His legacy on the game and on both Brazilian and international football will be felt for the rest of the game’s existence.