The ‘Black Pearl’ of football no more; Pele passes away aged 82

The news was confirmed by Pele’s daughter on Instagram late Thursday night
Pele was the only player to win the FIFA World Cup three times
Pele was the only player to win the FIFA World Cup three times

Legendary footballer Pele, also called the ‘Black Pearl’ of football is no more. According to sources, the athlete passed away on Thursday (December 29, 2022), aged 82. The news was confirmed by his daughter on Instagram late Thursday night. Pele's daughter, Kely Cristina Nascimento, took to the social media platform, to share a picture of several pairs of hands clasped around Pele's hand. She captioned, “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”

Reports stated that the former Brazilian footballer passed away from colon cancer after his body stopped responding to chemotherapy. He was taken to the hospital earlier this month to reassess his cancer therapy. Subsequently, he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection. Pele had a colon tumour removed in September of last year, and ever since then, he had been visiting hospitals regularly.

Pele is considered as one of football's all-time great forwards. He made his international debut at the age of 16 and finished his career as the team's all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 games. Pele also was the only player to win the FIFA World Cup three times, in 1958, 1962, and 1970. For a significant portion of his career (1956–1974), the forward played for the Brazilian club Santos, scoring 643 goals in 659 games. Pele played with the New York Cosmos in the United States for the final two years of his football career.

In addition to winning the Copa Libertadores twice in 1962 and 1963, Pele won the Brazilian league championship (Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A) six times (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, and 1968). He was a prominent figure in Santos' ‘Golden Era’ (1959–1974) and helped the team win the Intercontinental Cup twice, in 1962 and 1963.

Pele’s given name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento. He holds the record for most goals scored (1,281). He was born on October 23, 1940, in the small Minas Gerais village of Tres Coraçes, or ‘Three Hearts.’
He learnt the game from his father, a semi-professional player whose promising career was halted by a knee injury.

In a seven-decade career as a player, Pele enchanted popes, presidents, and Hollywood celebrities with his superb abilities and winning smile, making soccer one of the most popular sports in the world.  More than any player before or since, Pele was revered for his wide range of abilities. He was two-footed, had incredible speed and stamina, and could head, pass, tackle, and of course, score goals. At the age of 15, he joined Santos, and he helped make the modest coastal team one of football's most recognizable names.

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