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Brazilian soccer great “Pele” dies at 82

In December, legendary soccer player Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known by his nickname “Pelé,” died at the age of 82, which was reported by several media sources.

The Brazilian professional footballer who played forward and who was regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and labeled “the greatest” by FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), soccer’s world governing body, was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century.

Pele’ was known for connecting the phrase “The Beautiful Game” with football and being a prolific goal scorer, for his ability to anticipate opponents in the area and finish off chances with an accurate and powerful kick with either foot. Pelé was also a hard-working team player, and a complete forward, with exceptional vision and intelligence, who was recognized for his precise passing and ability to link up with teammates and provide them with assists.

In 1999, Pele’ was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee and was included in the Time list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.

Voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) in 2000, Pele’ was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century. His 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which includes friendlies, are recognized as a Guinness World Record.

Pelé began playing for the Brazilian sports club Santos at age 15 and the Brazil national team at 16. During his international career, he won three FIFA World Cups: 1958, 1962 and 1970, the only player to do so and was nicknamed “O Rei” (The King) following the 1958 tournament. Pelé is the joint-top goal scorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. At the club level, he was Santos’ all-time top goal scorer with 643 goals in 659 games.

In a golden era for Santos, he led the club to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores, and to the 1962 and 1963 Intercontinental Cup. Pelé’s “electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals” made him a star around the world, and his teams toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity.

During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world. After retiring in 1977, Pelé was a worldwide ambassador for football and made many acting and commercial ventures. In 2010, he was named the honorary president of the New York Cosmos.

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Sports Editor at Chicago Crusader Newspaper

Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.

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