As the world mourns the death of Edson Arantes do Nacimento, popularly known as Pele, one of the greatest football players ever, tributes have continued to pour in for the football legend who passed away on Thursday, December 29 at 82 years after a long drawn battle with cancer.
As a mark of honour for the only man who has won three FIFA World Cup titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970, his country Brazil, has declared three days of national mourning for him.
Elsewhere in the English Premier League and EFL, players are to wear black armbands to honour him.
The Premier League’s next round begins with two matches on Friday and concludes on Sunday, with all 10 games paying tribute.
The EFL said it would hold a minute’s applause before EFL fixtures on Friday and on 1 and 2 January, while players will wear black armbands “in memory of the life of Pele”.
Football’s world governing body FIFA has also lowered flags at its headquarters in Switzerland to half-mast for Pele “as a symbol of mourning and respect”.
Guardiola, Howe, C.Ronaldo, Dare pay glowing tributes
Managers have also paid respect, with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola saying Pele made football “a better place” for his ability to give people an emotional connection to the sport.
“There’s not another show or event that can produce this type of emotion. It’s part of what these exceptional players do,” Guardiola explained.
“Football is football thanks to these types of people, players, human beings. Before, the number 10 was just a number and after him it became something special. Every top player wanted to wear number 10 in their team.
“What he has done for football is there and always will remain.”
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe hailed the Brazil great as an “absolute giant” of football.
“In my era, you grew up knowing of Pele, thinking of him as the best player the world had ever seen at that moment.
“It’s very, very sad. Whenever an icon passes away, it’s a very sad moment for football. Seeing the reaction of everybody, media, everyone connected with football, he’s certainly well remembered around the world.”
Everton manager Frank Lampard said: “The reach of his game was huge and has stayed. That name will continue for ever more. It’s a sad day for football.”
On his part, former Manchester United forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, wrote “My deep condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Edson Arantes do Nascimento. 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. The love you always showed me was reciprocated in every moment we shared even from a distance. He will never be forgotten and his memory will live forever in each and every one of us football lovers. Rest in peace King Pelé.”
Nigeria’s Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, also paid tribute to the legend as he wrote “ Pele’s exploits cannot be forgotten. His successes were not just on the football pitch, they went beyond the pitch into the minds of the people because he impacted humanity.
“It is, therefore, not a surprise to see this outpouring of emotions at the news of his passing inspite of the fact that he has had a long drawn battle with illness.”
Pele is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time.