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December 30, 2022

Football Has Lost Its King, Pelé!

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, was the undisputed king of the beautiful game and the only player to have won three World Cups, in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He passed away on December 29th in São Paulo, Brazil at 82 years old, losing a long battle against cancer that had spread to several organs in his body.

Pelé was born in Tres Coracoes, in the state of Minas Gerais, on October 23, 1940. He was named after the inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, however when his birth was registered, the clerk removed the letter “i”, making his name Edson.

The nickname Pelé emerged when a young Edson couldn’t pronounce the name of goalkeeper Bilé, who played in his hometown. He would always say Pelé. At first, his teammates would make fun of the mispronunciation, without realizing how iconic that nickname would become in the future.

In 1956, he began playing for Santos, the team that launched him into stardom. In the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, he became the youngest-ever world champion at 17 years old, scoring in the final. Pelé was also part of the team that won the World Cup in 1962, and became a two-time club world champion with Santos. He scored 77 goals for Brazil, a record he shares with Neymar. In 1970, he became the first – and still only – player to win three World Cup titles, as part of a squad regarded as one of the greatest teams in the history of sports.

In the late 1970s, Pelé played in the USA for New York Cosmos, before retiring in 1977. He continued to be involved in sport, working as a pundit on television and serving as Minister for Sports in Brazil between 1995 and 1998.

Over the past few years, Pelé fought a long battle with a cancer that was first detected in the colon and spread to several organs, including his liver and lung.


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