Concacaf hails Pelé as “a true icon”

Concacaf—the confederation for football in North, Central America, and the Caribbean—described late Brazilian footballer, Pelé (Edson Arantes do Nascimento) as “a true icon of the game.” Here are excerpts from Stabroek News.

The confederation for football in North, Central America, and the Caribbean paid tribute to Pelé after he died yesterday in the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the age of 82.

According to officials at the hospital, Pelé died at 3:27 p.m. “due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition”.

“The Concacaf family offers sincere condolences to the family and friends of Brazilian football legend Pelé,” a statement on the confederation’s website read. “Pelé was one of the greatest players of all time. He inspired players and fans of his and future generations and brought joy to everyone who watched him play. The global football family will remember him as a true icon of the game. RIP Pelé.”

Gianni Infantino, president of Fifa, the sport’s world governing body, hailed Pelé as “immortal – forever with us”. “For everyone who loves the beautiful game, this is the day we never wanted to come,” Infantino said. “The day we lost Pelé. ‘O Rei’ was unique in so many ways. The moments spent with him will forever remain in my memory and in my heart. Pelé had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped. His life is about more than football. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and across the world. His legacy is impossible to summarise in words. Today, we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our dear Pelé, but he achieved immortality a long time ago and therefore he will be with us for eternity.”

[. . .] Pelé, whose given name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, joined Santos in 1956 and turned the small coastal club into one of the most famous names in football.

In addition to a host regional and national titles, Pelé won two Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League, and two Intercontinental Cups, the annual tournament held between the best teams in Europe and South America. He took home three World Cup winner’s medals, the first time as a 17-year-old in Sweden in 1958, the second in Chile four years later – even though he missed most of the tournament through injury – and the third in Mexico in 1970, when he led what is considered to be one of the greatest sides ever to play the game.

In a highly decorated, 21-year career, Pelé scored close to 1 300 goals, and he transcended football, like no player before or since, and he became one of the first global icons of the 20th century. Pelé was named Athlete-of-the-Century by the International Olympic Committee, joint Football Player-of-the-Century by Fifa, and a “national treasure” by Brazil’s government.

For original report, see https://www.stabroeknews.com/2022/12/30/sports/concacaf-hails-pele-as-a-true-icon/

Also see https://lenouvelliste.com/article/239793/le-roi-pele-premiere-star-planetaire-du-football-est-mort, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-64125254, and https://trinidadexpress.com/newsextra/pele-has-died/article_a2fd468e-87af-11ed-b446-b3920e39e1cd.html

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