‘Goodbye to the King’: How newspapers across the world reacted to Pele’s death

File photo dated 16-07-1966 of Brazilian football player Pele at Goodison Park, Everton, during a World Cup training session. Brazil great Pele has died at the age of 82, his family have announced on social media. Issue date: Thursday December 29, 2022. (PA Wire)
File photo dated 16-07-1966 of Brazilian football player Pele at Goodison Park, Everton, during a World Cup training session. Brazil great Pele has died at the age of 82, his family have announced on social media. Issue date: Thursday December 29, 2022. (PA Wire)

The death of football great Pele on Thursday provoked grief from around the globe as the world’s papers rushed to hand tributes to the three-times World Cup winner.

Here is how some of the papers reacted:

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Brazilian newspaper O Globo printed four editions to mark famous Pele moments from each of his World Cup wins with Brazil in 1958, 1962, 1970 as well as remembering his 1,000 goals achievement.

On each front cover read the simple words “Pele Eterno” which translate to English as “Pele Eternal”.

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Spanish newspaper AS opted to share a front page using a picture of Pele’s feet on a plain background. Below the photo read “O Rei” in large letters, which was the nickname given to Pele as “The King” in Portuguese, which many referred to during his time playing the game.

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French daily newspaper L’Equipe produced a front page of Pele smiling in his traditional Selecao yellow strip. Accompanying the photo of Pele are the words ‘Il etaut un roi’, meaning ‘He was a king’ in French and the paper paid tribute to the footballing legend by devoting 22 pages inside the edition to Pele.

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Another French newspaper Liberation went with a black and white photo of Pele topless but wrapped in a coat during the 1966 World Cup, looking over his shoulder with thousands of fans looking on from the stands in the background.

Next to him read the words ‘Pele Seleciao – le footballer mythique de l’equipe de brasil, trois fois champion du monde, es morte jeudi 82 anos’, translating to ‘the mythical footballer of the Brazil team, three times world champion, died Thursday 82 years’.

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Italian newspaper Corriere Dello Sport chose a front page of Pele celebrating with fans and team-mates as Brazil were crowned 4-1 winners of the 1970 World Cup over home nation Italy.

‘Aveva 82 anni, era malato da tempo tre titoli mondiali con il brasil. Una fantastica carriera da 1.281 gol nel ’70 la magia in finale con l’italia’ read the words on the front page, describing the ‘magic’ he and the Brazil side put on show to win the Jules Rimet trophy.

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Spanish paper Marca wrote ‘Pele’ in big letters spread across the page accompanied with a small photo of him celebrating with teammate Jairzinho after he supplied a pass to Carlos Alberto for Brazil’s fourth goal in the 1970 World Cup final.

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Sao Paulo based Estadao stripped the colour from the front of their paper, showing Pele in the silhouette of his number 10 jersey while playing for Santos to remember his club career.

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Mexican newspaper La Razon paid tribute by writing ‘Adios Al rey del futbol’, reading ‘goodbye to the king of football’.