Brazil football icon Pele has died at the age of 82, it has been announced.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known across the globe by his nickname Pele, passed away on Thursday following a number of health issues in recent years.
The Brazilian was synonymous with football and became one of the most recognisable faces of the sport across the world, despite playing the majority of his career in his home country.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he won an astonishing three World Cups in 1958, 1962, and 1970.
Pele made his debut as a professional footballer at just 15 years of age for Santos and went on to become the club’s record goalscorer with 643 in 659 games.
He won six league titles with Santos, including five in a row, as well as numerous other trophies including the Copa Libertadores twice.
It was at the World Cup where he made a name for himself on the global stage, with his electrifying play and spectacular goals dazzling fans.
Pele’s debut for Brazil came at just 16 in 1957 and just a year later he was world champion – he was, and remains, the youngest player ever to score in a World Cup final at just 17 years and 249 days.
He went on to win the tournament twice more with no person in history having achieved that and remains Brazil’s record goalscorer with 77 in 92.
Pele was one of the most popular sporting figures of the 20th century and continued to be a prominent figure in the game even after retirement, following a brief spell at New York Cosmos.
His 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which includes friendlies, is recognised as the most in history by the Guinness Book of Records although this figure has been disputed.
Pele continued to be active in his retirement in promoting the game across the globe.
Many will remember his role in the 1981 film Escape to Victory alongside Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine.
In 1994 he was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and assisted Brazil’s bid to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.
Pele’s health has deteriorated in recent years and appeared in a wheelchair for the 2018 World Cup draw.
In September 2021, he had surgery to remove a tumour on his colon and was in and out of hospital in the following months.
His death was announced in a statement on Thursday at the age of 82.