Tributes for Pelé Pour In as Messi, Barack Obama, Spike Lee Among Droves Paying Respect to Soccer Legend
The three-time World Cup champion for Brazil died Thursday at 82.
As the world mourns Pelé, the first global icon of soccer who died Thursday in Brazil, tributes to the three-time World Cup champion have also been pouring in on social media.
Pelé’s funeral will take place Monday and Tuesday at the stadium of his boyhood club and beloved team, Santos, in Brazil.
Santos said in a statement the public will be able to pay their final respects at Vila Belmiro Stadium, outside Sao Paulo. His coffin will lie in state in the center of the field, according to the Associated Press.
His casket will then be carried through the streets of Santos and will pass in front of the home of his 100-year-old mother, Celeste, according to the Associated Press.
He will be buried at Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica, a vertical cemetery in Santos. Only family is permitted to attend the burial, according to the Associated Press.
Pelé, whose full name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, died after a long battle with cancer. He was 82.
The late Andy Warhol, who painted and photographed Pelé during his time at the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, previously said the soccer icon will be “famous for 15 centuries,” putting a spin on his infamous “15 minutes of fame” line. Judging by the tributes, Warhol may have predicted the future.
Both the English Premier League and Italian Serie A soccer league announced they will hold a minute of silence in remembrance of Pelé during this week’s matches.
London’s Wembley Stadium lit up in the colors of the Brazilian flag in honor of the late soccer icon.
Brazil has declared three days of mourning and lit up Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue in the nation’s colors.
“A man who became the symbol of football’s beauty. The nickname I still have, The Phenomenon, was always exaggerated when I thought about him. Pelé was the real phenomenon," Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, a two-time World Cup winner for Brazil known simply as "Ronaldo," wrote in Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“In my country, but perhaps not only there, there is no child or boy of my age who has approached football without having in his eyes old images, maybe filmed in black and white, of that striker who scored impossible goals and made the ball do impossible things,” he added. “The greatest footballer of all time, that’s why I smiled when people said I was his heir: it was impossible. That’s why I’ve never felt it as a burden but as a pride.”
The other Ronaldo, Portuguese playmaker and social media influencer Cristiano Ronaldo, took to Instagram to write, “A mere 'goodbye' to the eternal King Pelé will never be enough to express the pain that the entire football world is currently embracing. An inspiration to so many millions, a reference yesterday, today and forever.”
Recent World Cup winner Lionel Messi posted a series of photos of him with the fellow South American icon and the caption, “rest in peace.”
Filmmaker Spike Lee, a friend of Pelé, made two Instagram posts about the soccer legend with one that featured a match worn Brazilian jersey by the player as well as a signed and personalized soccer ball to the director and photo.
Current Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as simply Neymar, wrote a touching tribute to the No.10 that Pele donned on the back of his shirt.
“Before Pelé, 10 was just a number. I’ve read this phrase somewhere, at some point in my life. But this sentence, beautiful, is incomplete. I would say before Pelé football was just a sport. Pelé has changed it all. He turned football into art, into entertainment He gave voice to the poor, to the blacks and especially: He gave visibility to Brazil. Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King! He's gone but his magic remains. Pelé is FOREVER!!” Neymar wrote on Instagram.
Neymar tied Pelé’s record for Brazil during this year’s World Cup in Qatar with 77 goals.
President Joe Biden shared an image of himself and Pelé, writing, "For a sport that brings the world together like no other, Pelé’s rise from humble beginnings to soccer legend is a story of what is possible."
Former president Barack Obama also posted a photo on social media of him with the player and a signed jersey he was given, writing, “Pelé 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.”
The New York Cosmos, where Pelé played in the 1970s when he moved to the now defunct North American Soccer League, posted a series of snaps of the player on the squad.
Current Manchester City and Norway sensation Erling Haaland took to social media to write, “Everything you see any player doing, Pelé did it first. RIP”
Haaland’s Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, spoke at a press conference Friday ahead of the team’s match this weekend and said of Pelé, “What he has done for football will always be there.”
French fashion house Louis Vuitton, whom Pelé once modeled for with another late soccer icon, Diego Armando Maradona posted their former ad campaign with the Brazilian and Argentine icons that also featured French soccer star Zinedine Zidane.
Musician and football fanatic Sir Rod Stewart also shared images of his time with Pelé.
Pelé’s game was said to be truly out of this world that even NASA paid tribute to him on social media.
“We mark the passing of the legendary Pelé, known to many as the king of the ‘beautiful game.’ This image of a spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor shows the colors of Brazil,” they wrote following by a picture of the constellation.
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