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Football Stars Pay Tribute to Pelé


FILE - Brazilian football legend Pele holds the World Cup trophy during the World Cup 2006 opening ceremony in Munich, Germany, June 9, 2006.

International soccer stars have taken to social media to pay tribute to the late Brazilian football legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pelé, who died Thursday at 82.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter called Pelé the "greatest footballer in history." The 86-year old who led the world's football's governing body from 1998 to 2015, said he was "immensely sad" to learn of Pelé's death.

"Very sad news: Pelé has left us," the Swiss former football administrator wrote on Twitter.

Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar said Pelé "transformed football into an art."

"Before Pelé, '10' was just a number," referring to the famed jersey Pelé wore in an Instagram post.

"He transformed football into an art, into entertainment... Football and Brazil gained status thanks to the King. He has gone, but his magic will remain. Pelé is ETERNAL!," Neymar said.

FILE - Soccer player Neymar, left, and Brazalian soccer legend Pele, share a laugh during a centennial anniversary celebration of the team in Santos, Brazil.
FILE - Soccer player Neymar, left, and Brazalian soccer legend Pele, share a laugh during a centennial anniversary celebration of the team in Santos, Brazil.

Portuguese soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo described Pelé as a ''source of inspiration for so many millions.''

Ronald wrote on Instagram that "He (Pelé) is a reference yesterday, today and forever. The love you always showed me was reciprocated in every moment we shared, even from distance."

"He will never be forgotten and his memory will live forever in each and every one of us football lovers," Ronaldo added.

Argentina's World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi bid Brazilian football hero Pele farewell on Instagram Thursday, posting photos of himself and "The King" taken in happier times.

"Rest in peace, Pele," Messi wrote after the announcement that Pele had died in hospital at the age of 82 after a fight with cancer.

For France and Paris SG striker Kylian Mbapp Pelé's ''legacy will never be forgotten."

"The king of soccer has left us, but his legacy will never be forgotten, rest in peace, King," Mbappé wrote on Twitter, captioning a black and white photo showing the two players side by side.

Mbappé, crowned world champion in 2018 and runner-up at the 2022 World Cup, is often compared since his emergence at the highest level to the "King" by his precocity.

Like Pelé before him, Mbappé has scored twelve goals in eleven World Cup matches, spread over two editions.

The Albert Einstein hospital treating Pele said in a statement his death after a long battle with cancer was caused by "multiple organ failure."

The soccer icon is the only footballer in history to have won three World Cups - in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

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