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Pele inspired many of us, says Mahama



Former president John Mahama has described the late Brazilian football icon Pele as a respected global ambassador and symbol of courage, peace and hope for many across the world

Pele passed away on Thursday at the age of 82 following a battle against cancer.

In a Facebook post on Thursday (29 December), Mahama said he was saddened by the demise of the global football icon.

“Sad to hear the passing of Edson Arantes do Nascimento simply known to the world as Pele. My heart goes out to his family and indeed the entire football fraternity across the globe. Brazil’s Pele, one of the greatest footballers that ever lived, beautified the game and iconised the No. 10 shirt.

“He inspired many of us as children, some of whom grew up to become great footballers. He also was an icon for those of us who never got round to mastering the game. In the brief moments we had the ball at our feet we dreamed that we were like the great soccer maestro.”

“He was a respected global ambassador and symbol of courage, peace and hope for many, particularly the black race. Rest in endless peace!,” Mahama posted on Facebook. 

About Pele

Born as Edson Arantes do Nascimento, he became better known as ‘Pele’ and is widely considered the best player to have ever graced a football pitch.

He, remarkably, scored 77 goals in just 92 international appearances for Brazil and was part of world-renowned teams that won three World Cups between 1958 and 1970.

Pele’s 21-year domestic career saw him represent just two clubs. Debuting in 1956 for boyhood team Santos, he made 636 appearances for the club prior to spending two years with New York Cosmos of the now-abolished North American Soccer League. Upon retirement in 1976, he had scored 655 club goals in 700 games.

Among several accolades, Pele was voted World Player of the Century in 2000 and named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.

He received the first-ever FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in 2014, whilst analysis showed he would have won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times if it had existed during his career.

Below is the full statement:

It was announced in 2021 that Pele had undergone surgery to remove a tumour on the right side of his colon and later began chemotherapy in September of that year. During recent weeks, however, his condition appeared to have worsened after a comment was made explaining his “tumour had advanced.”

Brazil players paid tribute to Pele after their last-16 win over South Korea during the 2022 World Cup, holding up a banner with his name and picture.

His daughter, Kely Nascimento, wrote on December 21: “Our Christmas at home has been suspended. We decided with the doctors that, for various reasons, it would be better for us to stay here with all the care that this new family at Einstein gives us.”

Fred Dzakpata
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