Reactions poured in from around the world to the death of Brazilian football legend Pelé who died of cancer in Brazil at age 82 on Thursday. His grace, athleticism and mesmerising 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 Pelé 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 football 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.
“Pelé was one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. And as one of the most recognisable 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 US 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.
“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 Pelé.” — Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.