Pele passes away: Brazil and World Cup icon dies at age 82

Pele has passed away.

Arguably the greatest footballer to have ever lived, who won the World Cup three times for Brazil, has died at the age of 82 years old.

According to the Associated Press, Pele’s agent Joe Fraga confirmed that the legendary player had passed away on Thursday.

According to the Daily Mail, Pele had been in hospital over the Christmas period, requiring treatment for cardiac and renal dysfunction as a result of his colon cancer progressing.

Why is Pele one of the greatest players of all time?

An icon of Santos and Brazil, Pele is widely heralded amongst the likes of Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the greatest footballer to have ever played the beautiful game.

He burst onto the scene with his stunning performances at the 1958 World Cup while only a teenager, scoring twice in the final as Brazil conquered the planet for the first time in their history

Pele later won the World Cup again in 1962 and 1970, finishing his career as the all-time record goalscorer for Brazil on 77 strikes.

The sporting icon also lays claim to more than 1,000 goals across his illustrious career, playing for Santos between 1956 and 1974, before rounding off his career with the New York Cosmos.

Pele was also named Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000, and has routinely been picked in various iterations of the greatest XI in football history, including the coveted Ballon d’Or Dream Team.

Due to ineligibility, Pele never actually won the Ballon d’Or, but France Football later revealed that the great man would have collected the prize seven times had non-Europeans been in contention.

As such, Pele is – in effect – level on seven trophies with Messi, thus rightfully making him the joint-most garlanded male footballer in history with regards to individual accolades.

Few players have been more multifaceted in their talents than Pele: seemingly excelling at every single aspect of the beautiful game to become a worldwide celebrity.

Whether it was his razor-sharp finishing with both feet, an ahead-of-his-time penchant for skills or even his proficiency in the air, Pele redefined what it meant to be a top-level footballer.His passing is an unspeakable tragedy for the footballing community and wider world. We send our deepest condolence to all of Pele’s loved ones – the sport won’t be the same without him.

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