Pelé is dead, but Pelé is ‘immortal’: the media around the world salute the legendary Brazilian who died Thursday at the age of 82, and who gave ‘futebol’ its hours of glory and letters of nobility.
The images of the ‘King’ and the comments are looping on televisions around the world, flooding social networks and engulfing the front pages of newspaper websites, before their publication.
“Mourning” for the “immortal king of football”, headlines the Brazilian daily O Globo on its site, with images of the player in the national jersey, in particular the iconic one, where all smiles, he raises his right arm, carried by his teammate Jairzinho seen from behind with his number 7.
‘Pelé is dead, footbal loses its king’, headlines O Estado de S. Paulo, a man who according to Folha de Sao Paulo ‘showed the power of sport and pushed the limits of fame’.
‘The one who died is Edson’
On the website of this Paulista newspaper, Juca Kfouri praises the ‘best player in history’ and quotes the writer Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987): ‘It is not difficult to score a thousand goals like Pelé: what is difficult is to score a goal like Pelé’.
This journalist, who is authoritative in Brazil, concludes his beautiful obituary thus: ‘No, it is not true that Pelé is dead. The one who died is Edson’ – the first name of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, says Pelé.
In Argentina, country of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, who are also applying for the unofficial title of best player of all time, Clarin sees in Pelé ‘the first great football star’, a ‘great among the greats’ according to Luis Vinker.
‘The ball is crying: Pelé is dead’, title Olé. And the Argentine sports daily is a good player: ‘Beyond the rivalry that exists between Argentina and Brazil, no one can doubt that Pelé was one of the greatest footballers in history, for many the best beyond Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. What is certain is that he marked an era from his teenage debut, both with Santos and the Brazil team.
Still in Latin America, the Mexican press favors the image of ‘Rei’ celebrating his 3rd world title in 1970, at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City, carried by his teammates, shirtless and wearing a sombrero. ‘Football is in mourning’, title El Universal. In Ecuador, El Universo de Guayaquil says ‘goodbye to Pelé, the + supernatural footballer +’.
‘The greatest’ and ‘the most beautiful’
In the United States, a country much less focused on the king sport, the New York Times evokes the disappearance of the ‘global face of soccer’, which ‘helped to popularize this sport in the United States’, during its appearance at Cosmos New York (1975-1977).
‘Brazil and the world in mourning: there was only one Pelé’, recognizes the Washington Post, on the site of which sports journalist Liz Clarke writes: ‘We called him the king of football, but he is the other nickname of Pelé – the + Pérola Negra +, or Black Pearl – which best evokes the rare intelligence that he contained in his small size.
22 special pages in L’Equipe
It is also this extraordinary talent that Vincent Duluc magnifies in L’Equipe (22 special Pelé pages): ‘Behind the sadness hides the happiness of having seen him play, of having seen him dance, even on images old, and to have seen it give another meaning to the most universal game on the planet.
The editorialist of the French sports daily ends his column with a sigh of ‘saudade’ thinking of the Brazilian No. 10 and the 1970 World Cup, ‘he was the greatest, and she was the most beautiful’.
The biggest? This is also the opinion of the French newspaper Le Monde about the ‘absolute monarch of the round ball’. ‘O Rey. Just the king. With all of its attributes. His crown, never disputed, not even by Cruyff, Platini, Maradona, Zidane, Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo’, advances Bruno Lesprit.