The sporting world expressed its sorrow at the death of one of its greatest heroes on Friday, bidding farewell to Brazilian soccer legend Pele with a flood of heartfelt tributes.
Brazil’s Pele, a prolific goalscorer who won the World Cup an unprecedented three times as a player in 1958, 1962, and 1970, died on Thursday, December 29, aged 82 after a long battle with cancer.
“Flags at the home of FIFA in Zurich are flying at half-mast today, as we remember the eternal king: Pele,” world soccer’s governing body FIFA said on Twitter.
FIFA has also written to its over 200 member associations asking competition organizers to observe a minute’s silence before matches this weekend, as well as over the coming week.
The Premier League, EFL, and A-League said they would pay tribute to the soccer great through a minute’s applause before games.
The Premier League and EFL added that players will wear black armbands during this weekend’s matches, while Spain’s LaLiga and Italy’s Serie A said they would observe a minute’s silence ahead of games.
Several footballers took to social media to pay tribute to Pele, with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah sharing a picture of the icon on Instagram, writing in the caption: “Farewell to a legend of football.”
Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric said Pele was “one of the greatest of all time,” while Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi posted a black and white photo of a young Pele smiling, writing on Twitter, “your legacy will be eternal.”
The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) said all A-League games this weekend will hold a minute’s applause before kickoff to pay tribute to “an icon”.
The minute’s applause was observed ahead of Western United’s home game against Brisbane Roar on Friday.
Brazilian tennis player Thiago Monteiro said it was a sad day for Brazil.
“Pele was our biggest idol in sports. He did so much even for the country, to showing Brazil to the world, and we had a lot of respect for him,” Monteiro told reporters.
Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar said Pele’s death was “a great loss to not just football but to the whole world of sports.” – Rappler.com