Pele 'immortal', says world football's governing body FIFA

AFP , Friday 30 Dec 2022

FIFA said Pele was simply "immortal" after the Brazil legend, named by world football's governing body as the greatest player of the 20th century, died on Thursday aged 82.

A photograph of Brazilian football legend Pele is displayed on a giant screen prior to the French L1 football match between Olympique de Marseille and Toulouse FC at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille on December 29, 2022. - Football legend Pele died on December 29, 2022 at the age of 82. (Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP)

"Pele: immortal -- forever with us," FIFA said on its website.

Pele is the only footballer to have won three FIFA World Cups -- in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

"They called him 'The King', and his face is one of the most recognisable in world football," FIFA said.

"The man in question is, of course, Pele, who was once named by FIFA as the greatest player of the 20th century."

Pele was just 17 when he won the World Cup with Brazil in Sweden in 1958. He won it again in Chile in 1962, despite being forced out of much of the tournament due to injury.

Pele lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy for the third and final time in Mexico in 1970, when, FIFA said, his "immense talent was on full display once again".

FIFA noted that he was the youngest world champion of all time -- not to mention the youngest scorer, youngest hat-trick scorer, youngest finalist and youngest player to score in a final in World Cup history.

Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the only other men to score at four or more World Cups.

Despite being a legendary goalscorer, Pele also played a part in setting up goals for others at the World Cup.

He registered six assists at Mexico 1970 -- a record for one World Cup, while he also recorded an unprecedented three assists in finals: one against Sweden in 1958 and two against Italy in 1970.

'Effortless flair'

"Pele took football to another level. Not only did he epitomise 'The Beautiful Game', but he also played with an effortless flair, the like of which had never been seen," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in 2020.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter called Pele the "greatest footballer in history" after the Brazil legend's passing.

Blatter, 86, who led world football's governing body from 1998 to 2015, said he was "immensely sad" to learn of Pele's death.

"Very sad news: Pele has left us," Blatter wrote on Twitter.

"The world mourns the greatest footballer in history and a wonderful personality. He celebrated the game like no other.

"Dear Pele, I am immensely sad and honour you and your life's work. My sincere condolences to your family and friends."

Meanwhile European football's governing body UEFA praised Pele's "pioneering role" in making football the planet's most popular game, calling him the sport's first global superstar.

"Tonight, we join fans the world over in mourning Pele, one of football's all-time greatest players," the organisation said.

He was the first global superstar of the game and played a pioneering role in football's rise to become the world's most popular sport.

"Rest in peace, Pele."

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: