Reactions poured in from around the world to the death of Brazilian football legend Pele. He died of cancer in Brazil at age 82. His grace, athleticism and mesmerizing moves transfixed players and fans.
“A simple goodbye to the eternal King Pelé will never be enough to express the pain that hits the entire world of football at this moment. An inspiration for so many millions, a reference of yesterday, today, always. The affection he has always shown for me was reciprocal in every moment we shared, even at distance. He will never be forgotten and his memory will last for ever in each and everyone of us football lovers. Rest in peace, King Pelé.” — Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese football star.
“Your place is on God’s side. My eternal king. Rest in peace.” — 1970 World Cup winner Roberto Rivellino and teammate of Pele on the Brazilian national team.
“Before Pelé, ’10′ was just a number. I read that somewhere at some point in my life. But that line, beautiful, is incomplete. I would say that before Pelé football was just a sport. Pelé changed everything. He transformed football into art, entertainment. He gave voice to the poor, to the Black and above all he gave Brazil visibility. Football and Brazil elevated their standing thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will endure. Pelé is eternal!” — Brazilian star Neymar.
“I had the privilege that younger Brazilians didn’t have: I saw Pelé play, live, at Pacaembu and Morumbi (stadiums). Play, no. I saw Pelé give a show. Because when he got the ball he always did something special, which often ended in a goal. I confess that I was angry with Pelé, because he always massacred my Corinthians. But, first and foremost, I admired him .... Few Brazilians took the name of our country as far as he did.” — Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
“For a sport that brings the world together like no other, Pelé’s rise from humble beginnings to soccer legend is a story of what is possible. Today, Jill and I’s thoughts are with his family and all those who loved him.” - US President Joe Biden.
“Pelé was one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. And as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, he understood the power of sports to bring people together. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone who loved and admired him.” — Former U.S. President Barack Obama.
“The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING.” French player Kylian Mbappé.
“With the death of Pelé, football has lost one of its greatest legends, if not the greatest. Like all legends, the King seemed immortal. He made people dream and continued to do that with generations and generations of lovers of our sport. Who, as a child, didn’t dream of being Pelé?” — Didier Deschamps, former player and manager of the French national team.
“It will be very difficult to find another Pelé. Pelé had everything a player should have. Agile, jumped like no one, could kick with both legs, physically very strong and brave. There was no one like Pelé.” — Cesar Luis Menotti, Argentine coach and Pele teammate in the Santos football club in Brazil.
“Today football says goodbye to its most beautiful chapter. The man who charmed the world and changed the history of the game forever. You will always be the greatest, because 60 years ago, with all the difficulties you faced, you already did what only a few can do today. The man who dedicated his 1000th goal to children and made our country discover it could be much more.” - Brazil player Richarlison.
“Thanks for his flair and his class. He left a mark even on the generations who weren’t lucky enough to see him play. Today the whole world mourns a legend named Pele.” - Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
“Pelé is an incontestable symbol of our nation, a source of pride for all of us. Beyond his achievements as a legend of world sport, Pelé was an exemplary public officer, loyal to his principles, values and to our country. We all lose in his departure.” — Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Pelé served as his sports minister.
“Football lost the greatest in its history today – and I a unique friend. Born in Três Corações, Pelé had three hearts: for football, for his family, for all people. One who played with the stars and always remained grounded. In 1977, I went to the United States. Because I really wanted to play in a team with Pelé at the New York Cosmos. That time by his side was one of the greatest moments of my career. We became U.S. champions together straight away, and Pelé called me his brother from that moment. It was an unimaginable honor for me.” - West Germany star Franz Beckenbauer.
“Pelé had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped. 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 summarise in words. Today, we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our dear Pelé, but he achieved immortality a long time ago and therefore he will be with us for eternity.” - FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
“Pele has died. The most divine of footballers and joyous of men. He played a game only a few chosen ones have come close to. 3 times he lifted the most coveted gold trophy in that beautiful yellow shirt. He may have left us but he’ll always have footballing immortality. RIP Pele.” - Former English player and broadcaster Gary Lineker.
“RIP Pelé. A hero to so many and one of the greatest to ever grace the game.”- London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
“Pele was a truly magical footballer and a wonderful human being. It was an honour to have shared a pitch with him and I send my sincerest condolences to his family, friends and the Brazilian people.” - Sir Bobby Charlton, former English player.
“This is very sad news indeed…Pele was an unbelievable footballer; he had style, grace, flair and made everything look so easy. The precision in the way he played made him such a joy to watch. However more than anything he was a good man with a great presence and a fantastic smile.” - Denis Law, former Scottish player.