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"Rei Pele" - Tributes Paid To Brazilian "King", Dead At 82

"Rei Pele" - Tributes Paid To Brazilian "King", Dead At 82
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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Pele - argued by many to be the greatest footballer ever to have lived - has passed away at the age of 82.

The legendary Brazilian died peacefully on Thursday, after multiple battles with illnesses over the past few months and years.

Pele remains the only player ever to win the World Cup three times, and his legacy on the game is unrivalled. Part of Brazil's legendary 1958 and 1970 teams, he has inspired generations of footballers and football fans down through the years.

It was no surprise, then, to see the football and sporting world unite in tribute to one of the greatest ever to do it. The outpouring of emotion was testament to the esteem Pele was held in - both as a sportsperson and as a man.

Tributes paid after death of Pele

In a statement released on Thursday evening, Pele's family confirmed the Brazil great had died peacefully earlier that day.

Their message read:

Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today.

Love, love and love, forever.

Pele visited Ireland on several occasions - most recently in 2009, when he visited Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin.

The FAI expressed their condolences on a sad day for football.



The only time Pele played on Irish soil came in 1972, when he was part of a touring side for Brazilian club Santos. Santos faced off with a Drumcondra/Bohemians XI at Dalymount Park, with Pele playing all 90 minutes in Dublin.

Bohemians shared photos from that match on Thursday, along with a message of condolence to Pele's family.

One of Ireland's greatest ever players, Paul McGrath, also expressed his sadness at the passing of one of his personal heroes.


Robbie Keane also shared a tribute.

The tributes ranged far and wide across the world of football, with greats past and present expressing their sadness at Pele's passing.

One of those most regularly placed alongside Pele in the pantheon of football's greatest of all time is current Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo. The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid striker shared a heartfelt message to his Instagram page on Thursday evening:

My deepest condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Mr. Edson Arantes do Nascimento. A mere “goodbye” to the eternal King Pelé 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.


The man who took Pelé's goat label also shared a tribute.

The original Ronaldo also weighted with a great tribute.

Pele remains one of only two teenagers ever to score in a World Cup final and the other - France star Kylian Mbappé - shared a photo of the pair together saying "The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING."

Elsewhere, tributes poured in from the Brazilian football federation, Gary Lineker, Ian Rush, Gary Neville, Mesut Ozil, and more. The estate of the late Dutch great Johan Cruyff also shared a touching photo of two of football's greatest ever.

Ozil was not the only one to share photos of Pele with other past greats of football.

Many fan accounts shared video footage and photos of Pele together with the late Diego Maradona and George Best.

Pele's death leaves the football world in mourning, and we can only imagine many more tributes are to come.

Rest in peace, O Rei.

SEE ALSO: Pelé Netflix Documentary Shined A Different Light On Maradona Debate


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