Pele, the legendary Brazilian football player, one of the greatest and most well-known athletes in modern history, passed away on Thursday at the age of 82, according to his daughter’s post on Instagram.
He has recently been in and out of the hospital following the discovery of a tumour in his colon.
The only player to ever win the World Cup three times is Pele, real name Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who set a record by scoring 1,281 goals.
He was admired for his diverse set of skills and more than any player before or after, he was able to do it all. He was two-footed, had incredible speed and stamina, and could head, pass, and tackle in addition to, of course, scoring goals.
At the age of 15, he joined Santos, a small coastal team, and helped make them one of football’s most recognizable brands.
He was at the club for a spectacular 18 years, during which time he won every Brazilian football award, two Copa Libertadores (the South American version of the Champions League), and two Intercontinental Cups (the yearly competition between the top clubs in Europe and South America).
Although a team psychologist referred to the 17-year-old as “obviously infantile” and urged against playing him, the national team quickly noticed his skill and chose him for the Brazil squad travelling to the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.
According to data compiled by FIFA’s website, Pele scored 1,281 goals in 1,366 games or 0.94 goals per game. He scored 757 goals in 812 games, including some friendlies and contests he played in as part of his military obligations. Nevertheless, he was equally as active in competitive tournaments.
Pele had a history of health problems, including hip surgery that left him with chronic discomfort and difficulty walking unassisted. He made fewer public appearances, although he continued to use social media.