Brazilian soccer legend Pelé passes away at 82

Aug 3, 2013; Hempstead, NY, USA; New York Cosmos former player Pele is led by security through the crowd during a ceremony before a match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at James M. Shuart Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Brazilian soccer legend Pelé passes away at 82

Pelé, who led Brazil to three World Cup titles and became the world’s largest soccer icon, passed away at 82 today due to complications from colon cancer. He played in his first world cup for Brazil at just 16 years old and is the nation’s joint-top goalscorer with 77 goals scored over 92 games.

Pelé is also credited with coining the phrase “the beautiful game” to describe soccer.

“I was born to play football, just like Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint,” said the legend of his relationship with the world’s most popular sport.

Pelé played his final match at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in 1977, and took the stage with his father and Muhammad Ali postgame in front of more than 75,000 people. He implored the crowd to chant the word “Love!” alongside them.

Soccer fans will remember Pelé as far more than the sport’s equivalent of what Michael Jordan is to basketball – he was a global icon, and will forever be at the forefront of the sport’s collective memory.

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