The death of Pele: a legendary life in ten photos
The king is dead. Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, 82, died Thursday afternoon at the Albert-Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo. But football player Pele will remain immortal. From generation to generation. A gift in the memories of the oldest who could one day see his incredible arabesques. In the imagination of the little ones who strengthen their knowledge in the fiery speeches of the elders.
From the mid-1950s with Santos and Brazil until his retirement in 1977 with the New York Cosmos, Pele lit up stadiums with his genius and elevated his sport to the pinnacle of art. Athlete of the century by the International Olympic Committee or player of the 20th century by FIFA, the left inside attacker of the “Three Hearts” north of Rio de Janeiro has won the championship of São Paulo eleven times, the championship of Brazil six times or the Copa Libertadores twice and or the Intercontinental Cup.
But he is the only player in history to win three stars, winning the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970. If we count the official and unofficial ones, Pele scored about 1300 goals…
1. A star is born
The world championship held in Sweden in 1958. In the final against the host country, Brazil became the first country to win the Jules-Rimet trophy outside its own continent (5-2). Congratulated by Garrincha (left) and Gilmar, Vava and especially the young prodigy marked the match with two doubles. At the age of 17, Pele is the youngest winner of the World Cup…
2. Are we doing it again?
There is no image of Pele on the pitch during Brazil’s final victory over the USSR (3:1) in the 1962 World Cup final in Chile. And for good reason. The future King, who was injured during the pool match against Czechoslovakia, will watch Garrinca lead the Seleção to victory.
3. For eternity
This is Pele’s most iconic image. On June 21, 1970, in his last international match against Brazil, Pele won against Italy (4-1). After his pass to Carlos Alberto for the last goal, he rises into the air to celebrate the victory in the arms of Jairzinho. Being the only three-star football player…
4. Farewell to the summit
The Mexico City stadium crowd makes no mistake and carries the King shirtless, fist raised. Pele plays his last final with Brazil. A year later, despite the pleas of an entire nation, he quit international football.
5. Santos, the club of a lifetime
Pele’s career will remain with Santos, where he led the club to the pinnacle of South American football in a friendly in 1972. Between 1956 and 1974, he scored 643 goals in 660 games for Sao Paulo State.
6. Goodbye New York
On October 1, 1977, a few days before his 37th birthday, Pele hung up his boots at New York’s Cosmos Club. We recognize Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Muhammad Ali cheering the legend on the right side of the picture. All told…
7. Among the legends
Diego Maradona went first. A little over two years later, Pele joined him. The two big football stars had a long love-hate relationship fueled by jealousy before settling on a more peaceful relationship. “I lost a friend, the Brazilian wrote when the Argentinian disappeared. One day I hope we can play football together in heaven…”
The King, wanted from all sides, was busy with his post-career. He was even the Minister of Sports before the 1998 World Cup before stepping down to devote himself to advertising deals. Here he poses with Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos, who were beaten by Les Bleus in the final at the Stade de France a few months later.
9. Among the greatest
Pele’s aura extends far beyond the world of sports. The mythical assailant was encountered by almost the entire globe, and his disappearance caused an incredible number of reactions. Here he poses with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela in Pretoria.
10. Busy life
On the private side, the Brazilian was married three times and had seven children. In 2016, at the age of 75, he married Marcia Aoki, a businesswoman 25 years younger than him. His “definite love”…
After a prolific career, the Brazilian became the UN and UNESCO Ambassador for Education, Ecology and the Environment, Brazil’s Minister of Sports between 1995 and 1998, or a symbol of major events based on a part of eternity…