Pele dies: LIVE tributes, updates and latest news as Neymar, Ronaldo and Messi mourn Brazilian icon

Pele dies: LIVE tributes, updates and latest news as Neymar, Ronaldo and Messi mourn Brazilian icon

Pele has died at the age of 82, with the world of football in mourning.

The Brazil legend and 20th century sporting great, who won three World Cups and scored over 1,000 goals, became the original footballing icon during a storied career that saw him transcend the pitch and touch the lives of millions all over the world.

Pele’s health had been in decline for some time and he originally stayed in hospital in Sao Paulo after suffering from a respiratory infection after a bout of Covid, although it was later revealed that his bowel cancer had worsened and that he also needed treatment for heart and kidney problems.

Tributes have poured in following the confirmation of Pele’s death, with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo among those to post tributes, while the Wembley arch has been lit up in the Brazil colours. Follow all the latest news and updates with Standard Sport’s live blog below.

Pele dies aged 82

  • Pele’s agent confirms Brazilian icon has died

  • Neymar: Pele changed everything

  • Hurst pays tribute to ‘greatest of all time'

  • Ronaldo: His memory will live on forever

  • Wembley arch lit up in Brazil colours

  • New York Cosmos remember former star

Pele obituary

23:14 , Matt Verri

When the news that Pele’s flame was dimming came on the same day that Lionel Messi was lighting up the World Cup with his 1,000th goal, it seemed somehow to align two sparkling stars of global football.

Pele’s death, at the age of 82, will have once again renewed discussion about which of the two, plus Diego Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo, deserves the ultimate accolade as the very best footballer of all time.

History and statistics may help a little in coming to a decision if needed but ultimately it probably remains as an entirely personal and subjective opinion.

My own vote would go to Pele, or Edson Arantes do Nascimento to give him his full name because, like the millions who would choose one of the other three options, they first opened a window on this great game of ours.

Read Ken Dyer’s full piece here

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The story of Pele’s career

22:58 , Matt Verri

Tributes from beyond the world of football

22:49 , Matt Verri

Pele’s name runs through football

22:42 , Matt Verri

Pele was credited with 643 goals for Santos and more than 1,300 in total but official records of his early career are scarce and some say the real total could be a lot less. What is not in dispute though, is that the name of Pele runs through the last six decades of world football like a golden thread.

Former England and Arsenal star Ray Parlour, for example, will have taken enormous pride for being tagged ‘the Romford Pele’ during his career while Hammers’ defender James Collins will have been equally chuffed to have been nicknamed, when he had hair, ‘The Ginger Pele’, by his loyal supporters.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Brazil’s last World Cup winning captain

22:33 , Matt Verri

Hat-trick of World Cups

22:25 , Matt Verri

Obama pays tribute

22:16 , Matt Verri

22:09 , Matt Verri

A statement from the hospital where Pele was receiving care confirmed the 82-year-old passed away this afternoon as a result of “the failure of multiple organs”.

“The Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein regretfully confirms the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, today, December 29, 2022, at 3:27 pm, due to the failure of multiple organs, a result of the progression of cancer of colon associated with his previous clinical condition.

“Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein sympathises with the family and everyone who suffers from the loss of our dear King of Football.”

Lula: Few took Brazil’s name as far as Pele

22:02 , Matt Verri

Incoming Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has added his message to the tributes that continue to flood in.

“Few Brazilians took our country’s name as far as he did.

“Pele left us today. He now has the company of so many eternal stars: Didi, Garrincha, Nilton Santos, Socrates, Maradona.

“He left one certainty: there has never been a number 10 shirt like his. Thank you, Pele.”

Franz Beckenbauer: Unimaginable honour to play with Pele

21:51 , Matt Verri

“Today, football lost the greatest man in its history – and I lost a unique friend. Born in Três Corações, Pelé had three hearts: for football, for his family and for all people. Someone who played with the stars and always stayed down to earth.

“I went to the US in 1977 because I really wanted to play on a team with Pelé at New York Cosmos. This time at his side was one of the greatest experiences of my career.

“We became champions together right away, and Pelé then just called me his brother. It was an unimaginable honour for me.

“Football will always belong to you! You will always be here. Thank you for your game, O Rei!”

“Forever the King"

21:44 , Matt Verri

UEFA release statement

21:40 , Matt Verri

“Tonight, we join fans the world over in mourning Pele, one of football’s all-time greatest players.

“He was the first global superstar of the game and played a pioneering role in football’s rise to become the world’s most popular sport.

“Rest in peace, Pele.”

Wembley arch lit up in Brazil colours

21:34 , Matt Verri


Nadal: Sad day for sport

21:26 , Matt Verri

“Today a great world sport is going again. A sad day for the world of football, for the world of sport.

“His legacy will always be with us. I didn’t see him play, I wasn’t that lucky, but they always taught me and told me that he was the King of football.

“Rest in peace! Oh King!”

A seriously special Brazil team

21:20 , Matt Verri

Bobby Charlton sends condolences

21:13 , Matt Verri

“Pele was a truly magical footballer and a wonderful human being.

“It was an honour to have shared a pitch with him and I send my sincerest condolences to his family, friends and the Brazilian people.”

Pele played major role in MLS expansion

21:09 , Matt Verri

In an era long preceding the Bosman ruling, Pele was an early campaigner for footballers’ rights.

He stalled over a multi-million dollar offer from New York Cosmos for several years, finally accepting that challenge in 1975 following advice from US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a football fan.

Two years and 64 goals later he had helped double the North American Soccer League’s average attendance, laying the foundations for Major League Soccer, which continues to grow in popularity today.

After football he moved into politics, leading campaigns against corruption.


Frank Bruno pays tribute

21:03 , Matt Verri

Richarlison: Pele changed football forever

20:55 , Matt Verri

“Today Football Says Goodbye to its most beautiful chapter. From the guy who charmed the world and changed the history of the game forever.

“You will always be the greatest, because 60 years ago, with all the difficulties you faced, you already did what a few can do today.

“The guy who dedicated his thousandth goal to the children and made our country realise we could do much more.”

Pele has died at the age of 82 (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Wire)
Pele has died at the age of 82 (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Wire)

Tribute from Marseille

20:49 , Matt Verri

“The Cosmos and their King"

20:45 , Matt Verri

“In 1975, Pele joined the New York Cosmos and helped popularize soccer across the United States,” Cosmos posted on their website.

“O Rei treated fans to numerous legendary moments on the pitch, including scoring a hat-trick to win the 1977 NASL Soccer Bowl.

“During three seasons with the Cosmos, Pele helped transform the domestic landscape of the sport of soccer. Where once there had been baseball diamonds, now there were also soccer pitches.

“The Cosmos and their King not only started a sporting revolution in America, they also traveled the world to spread the Gospel of the Beautiful Game, representing the world’s most global city at the global game, leaving a lasting sporting legacy in India, China, and Japan, where their visits remain a cherished part of local sporting lore.

“His last game as a professional footballer was played on October 1, 1977, before a sold-out crowd at Giants Stadium and a global television audience. Pele played one half each for the only two clubs he ever represented, Santos and the New York Cosmos.

“Pele name will forever be synonymous with sporting artistry and genius. His lasting impact on the sport of soccer is inestimable. Rest in peace, O Rei.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Haaland: Pele led the way

20:39 , Matt Verri

Nobody did it better at the World Cup

20:34 , Matt Verri

Of all those to play ten or more matches at the World Cup, no player has a higher win percentage than Pele.

He won 12 of his 14 matches on the biggest stage, lifting football’s ultimate trophy on three occasions. A remarkable career.

‘Invincible forever'

20:29 , Matt Verri

Ronaldo: He will never be forgotten

20:24 , Matt Verri

“My deepest condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Mr. Edson Arantes do Nascimento,” Cristiano Ronaldo has posted on Instagram.

“A mere “goodbye” to the eternal King Pele will never be enough to express the pain that currently embraces the entire world of football.

“An inspiration for so many millions, a reference from yesterday, today, forever. The affection he always showed for me was reciprocal in every moment we shared, even from a distance.

“He will never be forgotten and his memory will live on forever in each of us football lovers. Rest in peace, King Pele.”

A World Cup legend

20:19 , Matt Verri

Pele cemented his legend at Mexico 1970 as part of what is widely regarded as the greatest international team of all time. Fast, skilful, intelligent and strong, Pele dazzled like never before in the team that included Jairzinho and Tostao.

Brazil beat holders England in a group-stage game in which Pele was involved in two now iconic moments - Gordon Banks’ incredible save from his header and a topless embrace with Bobby Moore after the pair swapped shirts at full-time.

Brazil then beat Peru and Uruguay before dismantling Italy 4-1 in the final, with Pele opening the scoring and setting up Carlos Alberto to score one of the great World Cup goals. In total, Pele scored 12 goals at the World Cup finals.

Welsh football pays tribute

20:15 , Matt Verri

La Liga to hold minute’s silence this weekend

20:12 , Matt Verri

“LaLiga and the RFEF have agreed a minute’s silence to show their condolences on the death of Pele.

“As a sign of respect, a minute’s silence will be observed in all the remaining matches of matchday 15 of LaLiga Santander.

“Professional football thus joins the expressions of condolence and mourning at the death of one of the great players in the world.”

Neymar: Pele changed everything

20:03 , Matt Verri

“Before Pele, ‘10’ was only a number. I read this phrase somewhere, sometime in my life.

“But this phrase, beautiful, is incomplete. I would say that before Pele, football was solely a sport.

“Pele changed everything. He transformed football into art, into entertainment.

“He gave voice to the poor, to black people, and most importantly: He gave visibility to Brazil.

“Football and Brazil elevated their status thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will stay.

“Pele is eternal!!”


19:58 , Matt Verri

Swift rise to fame

19:50 , Matt Verri

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele grew up in poverty in the state of Sao Paulo. He was originally apprenticed to be a shoemaker but developed a talent for football by kicking a rolled-up sock stuffed with rags around the streets.

Pele turned professional at 15 with Santos in 1956 and was just 16 years old when he made a scoring debut for Brazil in 1957.

He rose to international fame aged 17 when he scored six goals at the 1958 World Cup, including two in the final as Brazil beat hosts Sweden 5-2 to win their first world title.

 (EPU/AFP via Getty Images)
(EPU/AFP via Getty Images)

From one World Cup winner to another

19:44 , Matt Verri

“Today I lost my brother. As a Catholic Christian, I know that it is “by dying that one is born to eternal life”. We will have all eternity to be together in the Father’s house.

“He just left the world of things that have no end and went to the world of things that have no end. Until one day, Pele.”

Wembley to turn yellow and blue

19:40 , Matt Verri

It’s been confirmed that the Wembley arch will be lit in the Brazil colours this evening.

“I don’t have many regrets as a footballer but I wish I had played at Wembley - even once, even in a friendly,” Pele tweeted in 2018.

A legend beyond football

19:37 , Matt Verri

Tribute from Mbappe

19:33 , Matt Verri

Statement from Pele’s family

19:30 , Matt Verri

“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today.

“On his journey, Edson enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love.

“His message today becomes a legacy for future generations.

“Love, love and love, forever.”

Football loses another great

19:27 , Matt Verri

In 2000, Pele and Argentina legend Diego Maradona were named joint-winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award.

After the passing of Maradona in 2020, Pele said: “I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky.”

 (AFP/Getty Images)
(AFP/Getty Images)

Pele’s daughter posts message

19:23 , Matt Verri

Pele’s son Edinho joined daughter Kely Nascimento at his bedside as fears heightened over his health, with the family spending Christmas together in hospital.

His daughter posted this evening: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”

“The most divine of footballers"

19:18 , Matt Verri

World Cup hero Hurst pays tribute

19:14 , Matt Verri

A remarkable career

19:11 , Matt Verri

Pele is the only player to win the World Cup three times - in 1958, 1962 and 1970 - and he remains Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals, tied with Neymar after the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

Officially, he scored 757 goals in 831 games during a glittering career from 1957 to 1977, although his club Santos claim that tally was closer to 1,000.

 (EPU/AFP via Getty Images)
(EPU/AFP via Getty Images)

Pele dies after battle with cancer

19:06 , Matt Verri

Pele, regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time, has died aged 82.

Brazil was plunged into mourning after the passing of the three-time World Cup winner was confirmed by his agent.

Pele had been receiving chemotherapy for bowel cancer was admitted to hospital in Sao Paulo earlier this month having contracted a respiratory infection after a bout of Covid-19.

It was confirmed recently that the sporting icon would spend Christmas in hospital with his cancer worsening and treatment also needed for heart and kidney problems.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)