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Pelé, the greatest footballer in history, is dead


Edson Arantes do Nascimento, universally known to us as Pelé, died on Thursday at the age of 82. It is considered the most

The king is dead, long live the king.

“In Brazil, we never called him Pelé but, “O Rei” the King.

That sums it all up, right?

“, confided to us in June 2020 his former partner and friend Paulo César world champion with him in 1970. Edson Arantes do Nascimento known as Pelé died this Thursday at the age of 82.

Question of generation no doubt but the Brazilian will undoubtedly remain the greatest footballer of all time ahead of Cruijff, Platini, Maradona, Zidane, Messi or Ronaldo.

He is also for others and often the same, the greatest champion in all the history of sport ahead of Ali, Jordan, Lewis, Federer, Nadal, Messi and all the others.

Yes, Pelé was the King of kings.

“A lot of people will surely realize his true size when he leaves,” said the Seleção specialist on Brazilian TV Alexandre Lozetti when the triple world champion was at his worst.

Now we know.

“I hated being called Pelé”

To understand, you have to go back more than half a century.

In June 1970, the day after the World Cup final ended with Brazil's victory over Italy (4-1), crowning the Auriverde prodigy for the third time, a major British newspaper, the Sunday Times, asked its front page: “How do you spell Pelé?

» The answer crosses the page of an immense: « GOD » in other words: GOD.

Since 1970 and its Mexican triumph, Cruyff, Platini, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Mbappé have in turn come to write the history of the most popular sport on the planet.

Football is a religion with its idols and saints, but it remains monotheistic.

His only God is called Edson Arantes do Nascimento better known as Pelé.

“When I was a kid, I hated to call myself Pelé, a name given by my friends, he told.

My real first name is Edson Arantes in honor of the inventor Thomas Edison.

I don't know why I inherited from Pelé.

It's the name of a sacred river in the Amazon but it also means stupid in Turkish!


Born in “Trois Cœurs” to win… three World Cups

It is however with these four scintillating letters that the genius entered the legend.

He, the child born in Três Corações (Three Hearts) in 1940, had three stars on his chest when so many great footballers already dream of getting just one.

He is the only player to have won three World Cups, in 1958, 1962 and 1970: “I correct, resumes Paulo César immediately.

My friend Pelé is a five-time world champion: he won three World Cups and two Club World Championships with Santos.

It is fabulous.



In 2014, Pelé posed with the trophies of the 3 World Cups won with the Seleçao (1958, 1962 and 1970) on the lawn of his favorite club, Santos, in Brazil, where he played for 19 seasons.

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Pelé has also scored 1,281 goals in his career according to an official Fifa tally – his Instagram bio reports 1,283 goals – a record there too.

From the Italian Giuseppe Meazza to the Brazilian Ronaldo, twenty champions have won two World Cups (4 Italians, 15 Brazilians, 1 Argentinian).

Some French people have not gone far.

But only one has managed the hat-trick and it is not close to being joined.

In Mexico City in 1970, where Maradona would also shine 16 years later, Pelé definitively ascended the throne of the sport where the all-time champion of champions still reigns.

"What made Pelé number 1 was his CV: he was unique," said former international Alain Giresse.

In Mexico, Pelé is at the top of his game: flamboyant, magnificent, invincible, magical, spectacular, decisive.

Simply prodigious!

“He was my idol.

I became his partner and we admired him.

We had an incredible team with magical names but Pelé was still above all, ”says Paulo César.

The first World Cup in mondiovision and in color, reputed to be the most beautiful in history, crowns the greatest and brings this game into another dimension.

The inventor of football or almost

Because Pelé was what Elvis Presley is to rock.

Without the King, there wouldn't have been the Beatles, the Stones, Springsteen and the rest.

Without "O Rei", there would never have been Maradona, Zidane or Messi.

The Brazilian looked like he invented football.

“I followed for AFP all the preparation and the World Cup in Brazil in 1970, told Charles Biétry, the former sports boss of Canal +, in Parisian, a few months ago.

In matches and in training, I have seen him do incredible things.

Yes, the word that suits him best is invent.

He created insane gestures that we did not know.

Many looked like they had worked for years to get certain moves right.

He did them even better than the others with disconcerting natural ease.

Even if he worked hard and never cheated, that's called a gift.

Someone was watching over him to achieve unique things."



have been marked by Pelé in his career


His genius amazed the planet but annoyed his adversaries.

At a time when artists were unprotected, Pelé was the most shattered striker in history.

He pulled it off miraculously, although once a broken rib during a match punctured a kidney that had to be removed.

“Pelé was simple with a good will, a big heart, a great intelligence.

Humanly, he was a treat.

He was already my idol, our idol to all.

All of Brazil revered him.

We had so much admiration and respect for him.

Could we do otherwise?

We are not talking about Lionel Messi, Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo.

We talk about Pelé, we talk about the King!

admired Paulo Cesar to the end.

An outstanding athlete

Did the King have the chance to be in the best teams in the world at the right time to shine?

No, it's the other way around.

The Santos team and the Brazil selection were lucky to have Pelé, a physically and technically outstanding athlete, well above all the others.

He who started playing football in the street with a sock rolled up as a ball was more than a player: "Pelé was an athlete of prodigious muscular value, well proportioned with his 1.70 m and his 74 kg.

His flexibility of articulation, of the spinal column, of the knees and of the ankles allowed him to perform deceptive swings of the bust, rapid changes of support.

Its vertical trigger was beyond anything you could imagine.

To his physical qualities was added an address that the school of the street and the favelas only cultivated and enriched, "wrote the team's football pen, Jean-Philippe Rethacker in 1981. Pelé knew how to do everything and he did it better than the others.

In the perilous game of comparing eras, few are like him: Johan Cruyff,

So many exploits and so few images of the "Black God"

Pelé is a myth, an object of veneration.

As in Lima in Peru, stadiums in the world still have in the 21st century, a plaque at their entrance which indicates: “

Here played Pelé


We know he exists and yet, apart from the Brazilians, few have seen him play.

“This rarity also builds its myth where today a Messi trivializes the exceptional on all screens almost every week”, concedes Alain Giresse.

Pelé only came to France once with the Seleção in 1963 and the "Black God", as the press nicknamed him, had scored three goals against the Blues (2-3).

At that time, football was not on TV.

Most of the images that exist of him are ugly and in black and white.

Her fabulous moves are blurry, filmed from afar and hard to appreciate.

Moreover, the best player of all time never wore the jersey of a major European club, remaining faithful to Santos and then, later, going to preach the good word of soccer in the United States, at the Cosmos in New York. .

Pele opened the scoring in the World Cup final against Italy (4-1).

Icon Sport/Bancet Collection

He therefore never won the Golden Ball reserved at that time for Europeans and yet… “Yet he always makes us dream.

Pelé is a dream, a myth, and if he had played in our time, with social networks, what would happen around him would be completely crazy.

It would be worth 400 million euros, ”slips Charles Biétry.

Close to people on all continents…

Unlike the escapades of a Maradona, Pelé had no enemies.

Everyone loved him because he never took a disturbing position, sometimes not even enough, especially with regard to racism in his country.

Ephemeral Brazilian Minister of Sports in the 1990s, he was careful not to take positions that were open to criticism, having only one fight in his life: the universal development of football.

"Pelé is a deeply kind person who has kept his smile of a child of wonder," says Charles Biétry.

We can certainly blame him for a few mergers with major international brands to make ends meet, but who hasn't?

“Pelé has a big heart, a great intelligence, an immense generosity.

He is simply a beautiful person.

I've never seen him act like a star.

He never was, he was never unaffordable, he stayed close to people all over the world.

Audiences felt he kept it simple.

I was so proud to be his friend,” admits Paulo César.

… and star among stars

In 1997, when he landed in Paris for a match, Michael Jordan was asked if he knew Ronaldo, the world star of the moment.

He replies: “Ronaldo?


But I know Pelé.

All the biggest personalities in politics, show biz, media and others wished to meet Pelé when he was still physically capable.

“Whether you like football or not, everyone on earth has heard Pelé's name at least once.

Few people in the history of mankind have been so universal and known during their lifetime.

At this level, he is more than a man,” concedes Alain Giresse.

Pelé with Diego Maradona on the lawn of the Marcel-Picot stadium in Nancy, for Michel Platini's jubilee, May 24, 1988. Presse Sports

“I am better known than Jesus,” joked the Brazilian.

Approaching him, asking him for an autograph or posing with him in a photo was a quest, an absolute fan's dream.

“In 1998 during the World Cup, supports Paulo César, I was at the Stade de France with Beckenbauer, Cruyff and even Mick Jagger, only stars.

People greeted them but, when Pelé entered, I felt devotion for him.

It was amazing.


Type his name on the Internet and you see him posing with Bob Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth, Mohamed Ali, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Andy Warhol, Sylvester Stallone with whom he played in the cinema, Steven Spielberg who was his next door neighbor in New York and so many others.

Pelé has posed with all those who have made the history of the world over the past sixty years.

In the photos, the most flattered of the two to pose with a star was not always the footballer.

In April 2019, Pelé and Kylian Mbappé met in Paris.

The Brazilian had already expressed his admiration for the PSG striker.

LP/Arnaud Journois

To date, only one player can, with a lot of chance, equal the Brazilian maestro's record of three World Cups: Kylian Mbappé.

The Frenchman is advancing on the same basis: he won his first star at around the same age as him.

The two look alike and admire each other: "Meeting him is an unnamed pride", was moved by the Parisian during their interview in the spring of 2019. The two geniuses had also exchanged a few messages on Twitter during the 2018 World Cup. The Frenchman has publicly supported him in recent weeks in his fight against illness.

Pelé saw one of his successors in the PSG striker.

"I'm just a normal man, with his faults"

Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and players around the world had and will always have Pelé as a role model.

One way or another, it remains THE benchmark, if only to beat its records.

His disappearance changes nothing.

Everyone has also been looking for a successor to him for 50 years, one who can snatch the title of "best player of all time".

Even if Messi, according to the words of the legend himself, is the one who comes closest to it, no one has found him: “Pelé has no successor and he never will.

He was Pelé, such a special being,” concludes Charles Biétry.

And Pelé, weakened in recent years by health problems, bowel cancer, heart problems, and hip pain, what did he himself say about all these honors?

“It still gives me so much pleasure to be appreciated, even after all these years.

I thank God everyday for that.

But, deep down, I'm just a normal man, with his flaws.

I do my best to be an example.

Humility is a quality.

Pelé had this one with all the others.

Source: leparis

All sports articles on 2022-12-29

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