Tributes are pouring in from the football world and beyond after Brazilian legend Pele died at the age of 82.
Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Gary Lineker and Sir Geoff Hurst were among those to post on social media after Pele’s passing was announced on Thursday following the three-time World Cup winner’s battle with colon cancer.
Neymar published an emotional statement on Instagram shortly after news of Pele’s death was confirmed.
‘Before Pelé, 10 was just a number,’ the PSG and Brazil star wrote. ‘I’ve read this phrase somewhere, at some point in my life.
‘But this sentence, beautiful, is incomplete. I would say before Pelé football was just a sport. Pelé has changed it all. He turned football into art, into entertainment.
‘Gave voice to the poor, blacks and mostly: Gave visibility to Brazil. Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King!
‘He’s gone but his magic remains. Pelé is FOREVER!!’
Brazilian legend Ronaldo also posted on social media in tribute to Pele. ‘Unique. Cool. Technical. Creative. Perfect. One of a kind. Where Pelé arrived, he stayed. Without ever leaving the top, he leaves us today. The king of football – only one The greatest of all time,’ he said.
Brazilian legend Ronaldo said Pele’s legacy ‘will transcend generations’ after he died at the age of 82
‘The world of mourning. The sadness of parting mixed with the immense pride of the written history.
‘What a privilege to come after you my friend Your talent is a school every player should go through. Your legacy will transcend generations. And that’s how it will stay alive. Today and always, we celebrate you.
‘Thank you, Pelé. Rest in peace.’
Hurst said: ‘I have so many memories of Pele, without doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside). For me Pele remains the greatest of all time and I was proud to be on the the pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you.’
Lineker also paid tribute to a player who many feel was the greatest of all time.
‘Pele has died,’ the former England international wrote. ‘The most divine of footballers and joyous of men.
‘He played a game only a few chosen ones have come close to. 3 times he lifted the most coveted gold trophy in that beautiful yellow shirt. He may have left us but he’ll always have footballing immortality. RIP Pele.’
Marcus Rashford simply said: ‘Rest easy king’, along with a picture of Pele with the World Cup trophy.
Pele is Brazil’s biggest football icon and the nation’s football federation posted a picture of the great man on their Twitter following his passing, accompanied by three crowns to signify his World Cup wins.
Mbappe said alongside a photo with the Brazilian: ‘The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING.’
Former player-turned pundit Gary Neville also posted on Twitter.
‘Rest in Peace the legend Pele. What a Smile,’ Neville wrote, accompanied by a picture of him with the legendary figure, a yellow heart emoji and a Brazil flag.
Cristiano Ronaldo said: ‘My deep condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
‘A mere “goodbye” to the eternal King Pelé will never be enough to express the pain that the entire football world is currently embracing. An inspiration to so many millions, a reference yesterday, today and forever.
‘The love you always showed me was reciprocated in every moment we shared even from distance. He will never be forgotten and his memory will live forever in each and every one of us football lovers.
‘Rest in peace King Pelé.’
Lionel Messi posted a photo with Pele with a simple message: ‘Rest in peace, @pele.’
A host of football clubs from across the world posted their own tribute messages in the wake of Pele’s death, while clubs in Europe held a minute’s applause before their matches kicked-off on Thursday.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: ‘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…
‘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.’
Tributes also came in from beyond football. Legendary Jamaican athlete and world-record holder Usain Bolt said: ‘A sporting legend. Rest in peace King Pele.’
The Wembley arch was later lit up in the colours of Brazil as a tribute to the 82-year-old legend.
Pele, a man who transcended his sport and was a global icon, learned that his colon cancer had advanced on December 21 and was told he would be kept in hospital over Christmas – with the iconic forward needing treatment for cardiac and renal dysfunction.
Previously he had been admitted to the hospital on November 30 with swelling all over his body and ‘decompensated heart failure’ before passing away a month on after receiving palliative care.
Pele’s daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram: ‘We are thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.’
Nascimento, who had posted before Christmas that members of Pele’s family would spend the holiday period in the hospital with him, added three heartbroken emojis.
Son Edson Nascimento, who followed in his father’s footsteps with a career in football, posted a photo of Pele from behind running onto a football field, with the message: ‘Go with God, my father’.
Grandson Arthur Spies wrote that it was ‘the most painful day of life’, adding: ‘But now all that’s left are the good moment, what Pele did for Brazil and for the world, the people that he helped and the victories he had in his career and life.
‘Grandpa Dico you are my idol and always will be, no matter where you are, on Earth or in heaven… I know that wherever you are you will always be supporting and blessing me in everything in my life and will always be together with me.
‘I have a clear conscience that you will go to heaven with an image of me as a grandson who was very present and who always loved you very muh and that I always wanted to be together with you.
‘I love you very much regardless of where you are, I will always take you with me in my life, in good times and bad times, because I know that if you were here you would support me, I love you grandpa.’