« Back to articlePrint this article

RIP Pele: 'The most divine of footballers and joyous of men'

Last updated on: December 30, 2022 11:40 IST

IMAGE: Brazilian soccer legend Pele is the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Brazil soccer great Pele died on Thursday, aged 82, after a long battle with cancer.

Following are some reactions to his death:


"Before Pele, '10' was just a number. I read that phrase somewhere, at some point in my life. But that phrase, beautiful, is incomplete. I'd say before Pele, football was just a sport.

Pele changed everything."


FIFA president Gianni Infantino

His legacy is impossible to summarise in words.

To his family and friends, to CBF (Brazilian football federation), to Brazil and to all football fans who loved him so much, I express my sincere condolences.

Today, we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our dear Pele, but he achieved immortality a long time ago and therefore he will be with us for eternity.

US President Joe Biden

For a sport that brings the world together like no other, Pele's rise from humble beginnings to soccer legend is a story of what is possible. Today, (first lady) Jill and I's thoughts are with his family and all those who loved him.

Former US President Barack Obama

Pele was one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. And as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, he understood the power of sports to bring people together. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone who loved and admired him.

Actor Sylvester Stallone, Pele's co-star in 'Escape To Victory'

Pele The Great! Rest in peace! This was a good man.

New York City Football Club

Obrigado, Pele. No one did more for this sport here, and everywhere. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Lionel Messi

Rest in peace, Pele.

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo

"Unique. Genius. Technical. Creative. Perfect. Unequalled. Where Pele has gone, he has stayed. Never having left the top, he leaves us today. The king of football - one and only. The greatest of all time."

Brazi's World Cup winner Cafu

"Pele dies, this news is not accurate ... Pele will never die. Pele will never leave us. Pele will never cease to exist. Pele is eternal, Pele is King, Pele is unique ... he just went to rest a little bit, but he will be eternalized in each magnificent goal, in each masterful play, but mainly in each one of us who have football as a profession and who were inspired by him and his entire generation."

Brazi's World Cup winner Dunga

"Our King Edson Pele leaves the world of things that have an end and goes to the world of things that have no end, just like Edson Eternal Pele."

Former Brazil player Ronaldinho

"My condolences to the whole family. Rest in peace eternal King."

Former Brazil player Romario

"Elected the athlete of the century, Edson Arantes do Nascimento made the world bow down before his talent, taking Brazilian football to the altar of the gods."

Brazil Government statement

"Pele, the King of Soccer, was one of the greatest athletes of all time. The only three-time world champion showed by his actions that, in addition to being a great athlete, he was also a great citizen and patriot, taking the name of Brazil wherever he went."

Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro

"Sorrow for the passing of a man, who through football took the name of Brazil to the world. He turned football into art and joy."

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez

One of the greatest footballers in history has left us. We will always remember those years when Pele dazzled the world with his skills. A big hug to his family and to the people of Brazil who will carry him in their hearts.

Germany's World Cup winner Franz BeckenBauer

Football lost the greatest in its history today - and I lost a unique friend. Football will be yours forever. Rest in peace Pele.

Former England striker Gary Lineker

Pele has died. The most divine of footballers and joyous of men. He played a game only a few chosen ones have come close to. Three 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

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach

With Pele's passing, the world has lost a great sporting icon. As I could experience myself, he was a true believer in the Olympic values and a proud carrier of the Olympic flame. It was a privilege to present the Olympic Order to him.

French president Emmanuel Macron

The game. The king. Eternity.

Cristiano Ronaldo

My deepest condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Mr. Edson Arantes do Nascimento. A mere "goodbye" to the eternal King Pele will never be enough to express the pain that embraces the whole world of football at this moment. An inspiration for so many millions, a reference of yesterday, of today, of always.

Kylian Mbappe

The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING ...

Former England player Geoff Hurst

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 pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you.

Manchester United

Rest in peace, Pele. Thank you for the joy you brought to football fans around the world.


A legend, icon and true great of the game who will forever be remembered. Rest in peace, Pele.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid CF, its President and its Board of Directors deeply regret the death of world football legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, one of the greatest players of all time.

Real Madrid would like to express its condolences to his family, his loved ones, his clubs, the Brazilian Confederation and all football fans in Brazil and around the world.


Barca deeply regrets the death of "Rei" (King) Pele, one of the greatest players of all time. With him, football became greater. May he rest in peace.

Wales Football Association

Pele broke our hearts in 1958 to score his first World Cup goal to knock Cymru out. Today our hearts are broken again. A true sporting legend. Our thoughts are with the people of Brazil and the world football family.


We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pele. We extend our condolences to the Brazilian people and the football family. Pele was @UNESCO Champion for Sport since 1994 and worked relentlessly to promote sport as a tool for peace. He will be greatly missed.

Argentina's World Cup winner Osvaldo Ardiles

The King of Kings has died. Extraordinary player. Unique. Three times World Cup winner, more than 1,000 goals. My idol when young. He made football the beautiful game and truly international. My time playing alongside him in Escape to Victory was a dream come true. RIP Pele.

France coach Didier Deschamps

With the passing of Pele, football has lost one of its most beautiful legends, if not the most beautiful. Like all legends, the King seemed immortal. It made people dream and continued to make generations and generations of fans of our sport.

Who hasn't dreamed, as a child, of being Pele? With his number 10, he put his technical virtuosity, his audacity, his creativity at the service of his teams and especially that of Brazil with whom he won three World Cups.

Pele was the alliance of beauty and efficiency. His talent and track record will remain forever etched in our memories. To his family, loved ones and the Brazilian people, I extend my sincere condolences and sympathy. The king will remain the king, forever.

Former Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta

Thank you for everything you gave to the world of football. RIP to a legend.

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez

His legacy will be eternal. Rest in peace, king.

Former Argentina player Claudio Caniggia

One of my biggest inspirations for playing football. Since I was a kid I admired him, like everyone who understands and loves this sport. Forever Pele.

Rafael Nadal

Today a great of world sport is leaving us once 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 I was always taught and told that he was the King of football. Rest in Peace! O Rei!

Usain Bolt

A Sporting Legend. Rest in Peace King Pele.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken

Pele was a true legend; there was no one quite like him. But he also transcended the game and inspired generations on and off the field. My condolences to his family, friends, and fellow Brazilians - as well as to soccer fans around the world.

Colombia President Gustavo Petro

As a child I watched Pele at the World Cup on a black and white screen. My dad told me that he was the best soccer player in the world. Today I think my father was right. A message of solidarity to his family and all the people of Brazil who loved him so much. RIP.

Lewis Hamilton

Lost a legend today. Thank you for sharing your talent, genius and love with us. @Pele's legacy will inspire us forever and always.

© Copyright 2024 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.