By Bukola Hameed
Soccer legend Pele has passed away at the age of 82.
‘O Rei’ was born in Tres Coracoes, Brazil, on October 23, 1940.
The three-time World Cup winner had been struggling with health issues for some time and was taken to hospital in early December.
“He is quite fragile in relation to his mobility,” his son Edinho told Globoesporte in early February.
“He had a hip transplant and did not have a proper, ideal rehabilitation. So, he has this mobility problem, which ends up leading to a certain depression.”
Pele will always be remembered for the great moments over his career, his goals and of course, titles.
On November 19, 1969, he scored his 1,000th goal for Santos against Vasco da Gama.
Waldemar de Brito: This boy is going to be the best football player in the world
Pele made his debut with Santos at the age of 15 on September 7, 1956, against Cubatao, a match in which he scored a goal.
Less than a year later, the teenager played his first match with the Brazilian national team.
It was on July 7, 1957, against Argentina at Maracana, and he scored once again. However, his goal was not enough for the Selecao to win the match and they lost 2-1.
“This boy is going to be the best football player in the world,” said Waldemar de Brito, who discovered Pele.
The World Cup king
Pele made his World Cup debut in 1958 at the age of 17, becoming the youngest player to lift the trophy. Brazil defeated the host country Sweden 5-2 in the final, with Pele scoring a brace.
Four years later, Pele participated in his second World Cup, one which was also won by Brazil.
Yet, he struggled with a groin strain and only featured in two games.
Brazil missed out on the trophy in 1966, but Pele led them all the way to glory four years later, when the Selecao beat Italy in Mexico.
Pele’s last match with Brazil was against Yugoslavia on July 18, 1971.
In 2013 he received the honorary Ballon d’Or for his successful career.
Santos, Cosmos and retirement
The Brazilian legend featured for Santos between 1956 and 1974, netting a momentous 1,087 goals in 1,118 matches and winning numerous titles.
In 1975, he moved to New York Cosmos where he played for two seasons and scored 64 goals. Pele decided to hang up his boots in 1977.
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