Argentina, France, United Kingdom… The press bows before the “King”

Several hours after the announcement of Pelé’s death, the world’s media salute the legendary Brazilian, the only winner of three World Cups. On the front pages of the newspapers and on the television screens of the planet, the images of the “King” and the comments rotate in a loop to pay tribute to the one who gave “football” his letters of nobility.

Pelé is dead, but Pelé is ‘immortal’: global media hail the legendary Brazilian, who passed away on Thursday, December 29 at the age of 82the only winner of three World Cups and who gave “soccer” its hours of glory and letters of nobility.

Images of the “King” and comments are making the rounds on televisions around the world, flooding social networks and gobbling up the front pages of newspaper websites, ahead of publication.

“Mourning” for the “immortal king of football”, headlines the Brazilian newspaper O Globo on his site, with images of the player in the national jersey, particularly the iconic one, where everyone smiles, raises his right arm, which his teammate Jairzinho wears seen from behind with his number 7.

“Pelé is dead, soccer 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.”

On the website of this São Paulo 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: the difficult thing is to score a goal like Pele.”

This journalist, who is an authority on Brazilconcludes his beautiful obituary: “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, the country of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, who also aspire to the unofficial title of best player of all time, Clarín sees in Pelé “the first great soccer star”, a “great among the greats” according to Luis Vinker.

“The ball is crying: Pelé is dead”, headlines Olé. And the Argentine sports newspaper 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 since his adolescent debut, both with Santos and with the Brazilian 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 hat. “Football is in mourning”, headline Universal.

In Ecuador, El Universo de Guayaquil says “goodbye to Pelé, the supernatural soccer player.”

“The greatest” and “the most beautiful”

In the United States, a country much less focused on the beautiful game, the New York Times evokes the disappearance of the “global face of soccer” who “helped popularize the sport in the United States” during his visit to Cosmos New York ( 1975-1977).

“Brazil and the world in mourning: there was only one Pelé”, acknowledges Washington Poston which site sportswriter Liz Clarke writes: “He’s been called the king of football, but it’s Pelé’s other nickname, the ‘Pérola Negra’, or Black Pearl, that best evokes the rare intelligence he contained in his little body.”

It is also this extraordinary talent that magnifies Vincent Duluc in The Team (22 special pages of Pelé): “Behind the sadness lies the joy of having seen him play, of having seen him dance, even in old images, and of having seen him give another meaning to the most universal game on the planet.” The editorial writer for the French sports newspaper ends his column with a “saudade” sigh, thinking of the Brazilian number 10 and the 1970 World Cup, “he was the biggest 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 Rei. The king, simply. With all his attributes. His crown, never disputed, not even by Cruyff, Platini, Maradona, Zidane, Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo,” Bruno Lesprit advances.

Liberation, always seen on its cover during deaths of personalities, offers a surprising photo: we see Pelé on a court, in shorts and without a shirt, but with a long coat thrown over his shoulders, and looking back (photo taken in Liverpool in 1966). after a Brazil-Portugal).

The title “Seleciao” contains a play on words (“Seleçao” and tchao) and Paul Quinio’s editorial, titled “Forever First”, likes to imagine Pelé completing a “gang of fantastic four” with Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff and George Best: “They are so different, they probably wouldn’t have gotten along down here in a locker room, but the joy, the fire, the tactics, the alcohol, blend where they are now in an alien, almost childlike harmony.”

“Absolute Legend”

so the biggest? “Pelé was better than Messi, Maradona and Ronaldo put together,” says Alfred Draxler, sports editor for the German tabloid Bild. Die Zeit, still in Germany, recalls that Pelé “started out barefoot on the streets of Bauru and became the footballer of the century.”

“I thought that Messi was the best of all time, but now I realize that it is Pele.” says John Carlin, of the British The Times. The Guardian’s Richard Williams retains “the joy” that emanated from Pelé: “The world’s first soccer superstar made everyone smile and his sleight of hand was never intended to belittle his opponents.”

“Pelé will always be associated with the ‘beautiful game’, and no one has played it more beautifully,” says the BBC’s Phil McNulty in his obituary.

“Pelé, the ‘black pearl’ that charmed the world, is gone,” headlines The Times of India. “Absolute legend”, abounds Today Morocco.

Similar tone in Spain, where El País celebrates “Pelé, world football in four letters”. La Vanguardia evokes “the last great legend of world football”, and Marca highlights on its site the portrait of the young Pelé with a crown on his head, the years 1940 and 2022, and a black border, the color of mourning. The sports newspaper also links to the video “which shows that all the great actions of Cruyff, Zidane, Messi… Pelé had already invented them.”

El Mundo remembers “the two most beautiful goals in history”, regretting that “we cannot see them” for lack of any video recording: a goal in 1959, after four hat shots, and another in 1961, when Pelé received the ball Facing its surface, he eliminates seven opponents and scores his goal.

“The world of football is losing its ‘Rei'”, laments La Stampa, in Italy. On the Turin newspaper site, Matteo Giusti begins his article with a quote attributed to the Brazilian writer Jorge Amado: “If football hadn’t been called that, it should have been called Pelé.”

with AFP

Jamie Franklin

"Troublemaker. Typical travel fan. Food fanatic. Award-winning student. Organizer. Entrepreneur. Bacon specialist."

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