Pele dies: LIVE tributes, updates and latest news as Neymar, Ronaldo and Messi mourn Brazilian icon
Pele has died at the age of 82, with the world of football in mourning.
The Brazil legend and 20th century sporting great, who won three World Cups and scored over 1,000 goals, became the original footballing icon during a storied career that saw him transcend the pitch and touch the lives of millions all over the world.
Pele’s health had been in decline for some time and he originally stayed in hospital in Sao Paulo after suffering from a respiratory infection after a bout of Covid, although it was later revealed that his bowel cancer had worsened and that he also needed treatment for heart and kidney problems.
Tributes have poured in following the confirmation of Pele’s death, with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo among those to post tributes, while the Wembley arch has been lit up in the Brazil colours. Follow all the latest news and updates with Standard Sport’s live blog below.
Pele dies aged 82
Pele’s agent confirms Brazilian icon has died
Neymar: Pele changed everything
Hurst pays tribute to ‘greatest of all time'
Ronaldo: His memory will live on forever
Wembley arch lit up in Brazil colours
New York Cosmos remember former star
23:14 , Matt Verri
When the news that Pele’s flame was dimming came on the same day that Lionel Messi was lighting up the World Cup with his 1,000th goal, it seemed somehow to align two sparkling stars of global football.
Pele’s death, at the age of 82, will have once again renewed discussion about which of the two, plus Diego Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo, deserves the ultimate accolade as the very best footballer of all time.
History and statistics may help a little in coming to a decision if needed but ultimately it probably remains as an entirely personal and subjective opinion.
My own vote would go to Pele, or Edson Arantes do Nascimento to give him his full name because, like the millions who would choose one of the other three options, they first opened a window on this great game of ours.
Read Ken Dyer’s full piece here
The story of Pele’s career
22:58 , Matt Verri
Sky Sports pays tribute to an icon that leaves an unparalleled legacy. The only player to win three World Cups.
Rest in peace, Pele. 🇧🇷pic.twitter.com/Vj2KEHKxsB
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) December 29, 2022
Tributes from beyond the world of football
22:49 , Matt Verri
We mark the passing of the legendary Pelé, known to many as the king of the "beautiful game." This image of a spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor shows the colors of Brazil. pic.twitter.com/sOYfKdTeAJ
— NASA (@NASA) December 29, 2022
Pele’s name runs through football
22:42 , Matt Verri
Pele was credited with 643 goals for Santos and more than 1,300 in total but official records of his early career are scarce and some say the real total could be a lot less. What is not in dispute though, is that the name of Pele runs through the last six decades of world football like a golden thread.
Former England and Arsenal star Ray Parlour, for example, will have taken enormous pride for being tagged ‘the Romford Pele’ during his career while Hammers’ defender James Collins will have been equally chuffed to have been nicknamed, when he had hair, ‘The Ginger Pele’, by his loyal supporters.
Brazil’s last World Cup winning captain
22:33 , Matt Verri
Pelé will never die... Pelé is eternal, Pelé is the king, Pelé is unique... he will be immortalised in every magnificent goal, in every moment of genius, but mainly in each one of us who were inspired by him and his generation. Rest in peace my brother 🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/zx5SPUCZPq
— Cafu. (@officialcafu) December 29, 2022
Hat-trick of World Cups
22:25 , Matt Verri
Pelé, the only man to win the #FIFAWorldCup three times.
A legend of our game.
Rest in peace, the Eternal King. pic.twitter.com/1MS3DPxPDF
— FIFA (@FIFAcom) December 29, 2022
Obama pays tribute
22:16 , Matt Verri
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. pic.twitter.com/urGRDePaPv
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 29, 2022
22:09 , Matt Verri
A statement from the hospital where Pele was receiving care confirmed the 82-year-old passed away this afternoon as a result of “the failure of multiple organs”.
“The Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein regretfully confirms the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, today, December 29, 2022, at 3:27 pm, due to the failure of multiple organs, a result of the progression of cancer of colon associated with his previous clinical condition.
“Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein sympathises with the family and everyone who suffers from the loss of our dear King of Football.”
Lula: Few took Brazil’s name as far as Pele
22:02 , Matt Verri
Incoming Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has added his message to the tributes that continue to flood in.
“Few Brazilians took our country’s name as far as he did.
“Pele left us today. He now has the company of so many eternal stars: Didi, Garrincha, Nilton Santos, Socrates, Maradona.
“He left one certainty: there has never been a number 10 shirt like his. Thank you, Pele.”
Eu tive o privilégio que os brasileiros mais jovens não tiveram: eu vi o Pelé jogar, ao vivo, no Pacaembu e Morumbi. Jogar, não. Eu vi o Pelé dar show. Porque quando pegava na bola ele sempre fazia algo especial, que muitas vezes acabava em gol.
📸: @ricardostuckert pic.twitter.com/YQs3K119t9
— Lula (@LulaOficial) December 29, 2022
Franz Beckenbauer: Unimaginable honour to play with Pele
21:51 , Matt Verri
“Today, football lost the greatest man in its history – and I lost a unique friend. Born in Três Corações, Pelé had three hearts: for football, for his family and for all people. Someone who played with the stars and always stayed down to earth.
“I went to the US in 1977 because I really wanted to play on a team with Pelé at New York Cosmos. This time at his side was one of the greatest experiences of my career.
“We became champions together right away, and Pelé then just called me his brother. It was an unimaginable honour for me.
“Football will always belong to you! You will always be here. Thank you for your game, O Rei!”
“Forever the King"
21:44 , Matt Verri
Forever the King of football, the Legend! 👑 Rest in peace, Pelé. 🙏
You have changed the History of football. Your legacy will always be in our hearts.
Thanks for everything!#ThiagoSilva #TS6 #OhhhThiagoSilva #Pelé #ReiPelé #PeléEterno pic.twitter.com/lobQlPreQg
— Thiago Silva (@tsilva3) December 29, 2022
UEFA release statement
21:40 , Matt Verri
“Tonight, we join fans the world over in mourning Pele, one of football’s all-time greatest players.
“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.”
Wembley arch lit up in Brazil colours
21:34 , Matt Verri
Nadal: Sad day for sport
21:26 , Matt Verri
“Today a great world sport is going again. A sad day for the world of football, for the world of sport.
“His legacy will always be with us. I didn’t see him play, I wasn’t that lucky, but they always taught me and told me that he was the King of football.
“Rest in peace! Oh King!”
A seriously special Brazil team
21:20 , Matt Verri
After being honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at BBC SPOTY in 2005, Pele discussed the best Brazil side he had played in 💬
A true World Cup star who will never be forgotten ❤️#BBCFootball #Pele pic.twitter.com/3XGnhcT1eh
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 29, 2022
Bobby Charlton sends condolences
21:13 , Matt Verri
“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.”
Pele played major role in MLS expansion
21:09 , Matt Verri
In an era long preceding the Bosman ruling, Pele was an early campaigner for footballers’ rights.
He stalled over a multi-million dollar offer from New York Cosmos for several years, finally accepting that challenge in 1975 following advice from US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a football fan.
Two years and 64 goals later he had helped double the North American Soccer League’s average attendance, laying the foundations for Major League Soccer, which continues to grow in popularity today.
After football he moved into politics, leading campaigns against corruption.
Frank Bruno pays tribute
21:03 , Matt Verri
RIP Pele it was news we were all dreading to hear sadly the Greatest ever footballer of our time has finally passed. A true legend now with the God who created such an immortal that we will never see the likes of again in our lifetime. pic.twitter.com/WpT1lOOjfi
— Frank Bruno MBE 🇬🇧 (@frankbrunoboxer) December 29, 2022
Richarlison: Pele changed football forever
20:55 , Matt Verri
“Today Football Says Goodbye to its most beautiful chapter. From the guy 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 a few can do today.
“The guy who dedicated his thousandth goal to the children and made our country realise we could do much more.”
Tribute from Marseille
20:49 , Matt Verri
🖤 𝗣𝗮𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗯𝘂𝘁𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗢 𝗥𝗲𝗶 👑🇧🇷
The @orangevelodrome honours the legend @Pele with a minute's applause ⚪️🔵
1940 - ♾
🎥 @PVSportFR pic.twitter.com/XAOI1i49IV
— Olympique de Marseille 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 (@OM_English) December 29, 2022
“The Cosmos and their King"
20:45 , Matt Verri
“In 1975, Pele joined the New York Cosmos and helped popularize soccer across the United States,” Cosmos posted on their website.
“O Rei treated fans to numerous legendary moments on the pitch, including scoring a hat-trick to win the 1977 NASL Soccer Bowl.
“During three seasons with the Cosmos, Pele helped transform the domestic landscape of the sport of soccer. Where once there had been baseball diamonds, now there were also soccer pitches.
“The Cosmos and their King not only started a sporting revolution in America, they also traveled the world to spread the Gospel of the Beautiful Game, representing the world’s most global city at the global game, leaving a lasting sporting legacy in India, China, and Japan, where their visits remain a cherished part of local sporting lore.
“His last game as a professional footballer was played on October 1, 1977, before a sold-out crowd at Giants Stadium and a global television audience. Pele played one half each for the only two clubs he ever represented, Santos and the New York Cosmos.
“Pele name will forever be synonymous with sporting artistry and genius. His lasting impact on the sport of soccer is inestimable. Rest in peace, O Rei.”
Haaland: Pele led the way
20:39 , Matt Verri
Everything you see any player doing, Pelé did it first. RIP ⚽️🤴🏿 pic.twitter.com/SeW0z1hQTm
— Erling Haaland (@ErlingHaaland) December 29, 2022
Nobody did it better at the World Cup
20:34 , Matt Verri
Of all those to play ten or more matches at the World Cup, no player has a higher win percentage than Pele.
He won 12 of his 14 matches on the biggest stage, lifting football’s ultimate trophy on three occasions. A remarkable career.
20:29 , Matt Verri
Rest in peace to one of the greatest legends of the game🖤⚽😥
Your legacy will live forever.
I'm sure 'Heaven FC' with Maradona and Pele together will be invincible forever 🏼🇧🇷🏆🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/KimzUxhIik
— Mesut Özil (@M10) December 29, 2022
Ronaldo: He will never be forgotten
20:24 , Matt Verri
“My deepest condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Mr. Edson Arantes do Nascimento,” Cristiano Ronaldo has posted on Instagram.
“A mere “goodbye” to the eternal King Pele will never be enough to express the pain that currently embraces the entire world of football.
“An inspiration for so many millions, a reference from yesterday, today, forever. The affection he always showed for me was reciprocal in every moment we shared, even from a distance.
“He will never be forgotten and his memory will live on forever in each of us football lovers. Rest in peace, King Pele.”
A World Cup legend
20:19 , Matt Verri
Pele cemented his legend at Mexico 1970 as part of what is widely regarded as the greatest international team of all time. Fast, skilful, intelligent and strong, Pele dazzled like never before in the team that included Jairzinho and Tostao.
Brazil beat holders England in a group-stage game in which Pele was involved in two now iconic moments - Gordon Banks’ incredible save from his header and a topless embrace with Bobby Moore after the pair swapped shirts at full-time.
Brazil then beat Peru and Uruguay before dismantling Italy 4-1 in the final, with Pele opening the scoring and setting up Carlos Alberto to score one of the great World Cup goals. In total, Pele scored 12 goals at the World Cup finals.
One of the greatest to have graced the beautiful game.
Farewell, Pelé. You will never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/bMUEat5MP2
— England (@England) December 29, 2022
Welsh football pays tribute
20:15 , Matt Verri
Pele broke our hearts in 1958 to score his first World Cup goal to knock Cymru out. Today our hearts are broken again.
A true sporting legend. Our thoughts are with the people of Brazil and the world football family.
Gorffwys mewn hedd, Pele.#TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/OJT6QjOfkv
— FA WALES (@FAWales) December 29, 2022
La Liga to hold minute’s silence this weekend
20:12 , Matt Verri
“LaLiga and the RFEF have agreed a minute’s silence to show their condolences on the death of Pele.
“As a sign of respect, a minute’s silence will be observed in all the remaining matches of matchday 15 of LaLiga Santander.
“Professional football thus joins the expressions of condolence and mourning at the death of one of the great players in the world.”
Neymar: Pele changed everything
20:03 , Matt Verri
“Before Pele, ‘10’ was only a number. I read this phrase somewhere, sometime in my life.
“But this phrase, beautiful, is incomplete. I would say that before Pele, football was solely a sport.
“Pele changed everything. He transformed football into art, into entertainment.
“He gave voice to the poor, to black people, and most importantly: He gave visibility to Brazil.
“Football and Brazil elevated their status thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will stay.
“Pele is eternal!!”
19:58 , Matt Verri
REI PELÉ 👑👑👑 pic.twitter.com/epP8zZHRYr
— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) December 29, 2022
Swift rise to fame
19:50 , Matt Verri
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele grew up in poverty in the state of Sao Paulo. He was originally apprenticed to be a shoemaker but developed a talent for football by kicking a rolled-up sock stuffed with rags around the streets.
Pele turned professional at 15 with Santos in 1956 and was just 16 years old when he made a scoring debut for Brazil in 1957.
He rose to international fame aged 17 when he scored six goals at the 1958 World Cup, including two in the final as Brazil beat hosts Sweden 5-2 to win their first world title.
From one World Cup winner to another
19:44 , Matt Verri
“Today I lost my brother. As a Catholic Christian, I know that it is “by dying that one is born to eternal life”. We will have all eternity to be together in the Father’s house.
“He just left the world of things that have no end and went to the world of things that have no end. Until one day, Pele.”
Hoje perdi meu irmão. Como cristão católico, sei que é “morrendo que se nasce para a vida eterna”. Teremos toda a eternidade para estarmos juntos na casa do Pai. Ele apenas deixou o mundo das coisas que tem fim e foi para o mundo das coisas que não tem fim. Até um dia, Pelé. pic.twitter.com/J7hz5lbLh7
— Cafu. (@officialcafu) December 29, 2022
Wembley to turn yellow and blue
19:40 , Matt Verri
It’s been confirmed that the Wembley arch will be lit in the Brazil colours this evening.
“I don’t have many regrets as a footballer but I wish I had played at Wembley - even once, even in a friendly,” Pele tweeted in 2018.
A legend beyond football
19:37 , Matt Verri
A Sporting Legend.
Rest in Peace King Pele 🕊️ pic.twitter.com/AmehPBOR30
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) December 29, 2022
Tribute from Mbappe
19:33 , Matt Verri
The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten.
RIP KING 💔👑… pic.twitter.com/F55PrcM2Ud
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) December 29, 2022
Statement from Pele’s family
19:30 , Matt Verri
“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today.
“On his journey, Edson enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love.
“His message today becomes a legacy for future generations.
“Love, love and love, forever.”
Football loses another great
19:27 , Matt Verri
In 2000, Pele and Argentina legend Diego Maradona were named joint-winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award.
After the passing of Maradona in 2020, Pele said: “I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky.”
Pele’s daughter posts message
19:23 , Matt Verri
Pele’s son Edinho joined daughter Kely Nascimento at his bedside as fears heightened over his health, with the family spending Christmas together in hospital.
His daughter posted this evening: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
“The most divine of footballers"
19:18 , Matt Verri
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
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) December 29, 2022
World Cup hero Hurst pays tribute
19:14 , Matt Verri
I have so many memories of Pele, without doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside). For me Pele remains the greatest of all time and I was proud to be on the the pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you. pic.twitter.com/oCpQlw7EIK
— Sir Geoff Hurst (@TheGeoffHurst) December 29, 2022
A remarkable career
19:11 , Matt Verri
Pele is the only player to win the World Cup three times - in 1958, 1962 and 1970 - and he remains Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals, tied with Neymar after the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
Officially, he scored 757 goals in 831 games during a glittering career from 1957 to 1977, although his club Santos claim that tally was closer to 1,000.
Pele dies after battle with cancer
19:06 , Matt Verri
Pele, regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time, has died aged 82.
Brazil was plunged into mourning after the passing of the three-time World Cup winner was confirmed by his agent.
Pele had been receiving chemotherapy for bowel cancer was admitted to hospital in Sao Paulo earlier this month having contracted a respiratory infection after a bout of Covid-19.
It was confirmed recently that the sporting icon would spend Christmas in hospital with his cancer worsening and treatment also needed for heart and kidney problems.