Pele: Anfield holds minute’s applause as Premier League pays tribute to Brazil icon

Anfield held a minute’s applause to remember Pele as the Premier League paid tribute to the Brazil icon, who died on Thursday at the age of 82.

Widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, Pele’s death has sparked a huge outpouring of affection from within football and across the world.

A minute’s applause will be held before every Premier League match this weekend, beginning with Liverpool’s match against Leicester and West Ham’s fixture with Brentford on Friday night.

Liverpool goalkeeper and Brazil international Alisson carried out flowers in the country’s national colours, while captain Jordan Henderson laid flowers for former Liverpool player David Johnson, who passed away last month. Players also wore black armbands.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to Pele before kick-off and said the death of the three-time World Cup winner had been a “tough” moment for the sport,

He told Sky Sports: “My Dad always said, whatever happens in the future he will leave us the best, don’t forget that. I saw him only as a kid playing but I met him once, around the World Cup in 2006. I have a signed shirt which he gave to me for my birthday which is pretty special, so it feels really tough to be honest.

“Let me say it like this, I believe in God, and whichever team he is playing for now has a decent player. Of course, it will be a massive loss and rest in peace.”

Earlier, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said Pele’s influence on world football will be “eternal”.

“Neymar said a great sentence when he said before (Pele) number 10 was just a number and after it became something special,” he said.

“Every top player wanted to wear number 10 in their team. What he has done for football is there and always will remain.

Players of Liverpool and Leicester City pay tribute to Brazilian legend Pele (EPA)
Players of Liverpool and Leicester City pay tribute to Brazilian legend Pele (EPA)

“It’s like a good movie, the legacy after many years. That we are still talking about him like a good movie or a good book is because he was so good.

“I think Pele, (Diego) Maradona, (Johan) Cruyff, (Lionel) Messi, (Franz) Beckenbauer, Cristiano Ronaldo – these type of players will be forever, they will be eternal.

“They have done many things in many years on the pitch and off it and with their teams and countries.

“These type of players make our business, our work, our job, however you want to say it, a better place because what he produced, what we have seen in the World Cup, what one team can produce can change 48 million people, the country. It’s unbelievable.”

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has also paid tribute.

The Dutchman told MUTV: "It’s really sad news. One of the biggest, maybe the biggest ever, passed away, so my condolences to his family and to the whole community of football.

"We lost a big personality, a great football player, a winner of three World Cup titles, (scorer of) over 1,200 goals.

"So it’s really massive. He was that elegant he changed the game and he was a gentleman in every aspect."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said the Brazilian players in his Gunners side, which include Gabriel Magalhaes, vice-captain Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli and Marquinhos, have been mourning the death of their compatriot.

He said: "We did talk about (his legacy) the other day and obviously they are very emotional because he’s one of the most popular figures in Brazil, and it’s a big loss.

"Obviously everything that I’ve seen of him and hear of him has been through videos and people who knew him personally, and a lot of relationships I’ve had always in football, but someone that probably changed the dimension of a single player in world football, because he could do a bit of everything.

"He was probably the most complete player that the game has ever seen, and it is a big loss. We had two big losses with him and Maradona in the last (two years)."

Spurs boss Antonio Conte learned all about Pele from his father.

He said: "The first person who spoke to me about Pele was my father. My father was in love with Pele because for him, he was the best player in the world and many times he spoke about him.

"Then I watched some games that he played and especially the final of the World Cup and some situations it was incredible what he did with the ball. The memories are this.

"For sure if I have to compare Pele with (Diego) Maradona, it is different because about Pele I listened, I had my father and I watched through the TV his quality and that he was an amazing player.

"About Maradona, I had the opportunity to play against him. Then to see and to touch his ability. But I repeat, Pele for my father was the best footballer in the world."

Includes reporting from PA