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15H30 AS Korofina - US des Forces Armées et de Sécurité de Bamako
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FIFA President's statement on the death of Pele

FIFA President's statement on the death of Pele

Immortal - forever with us.
For all of us who love the beautiful game, this is the day we never wanted to see. The day we lost Pele.

"O Rei" was unique on multiple levels.

He was the only player to win the FIFA World Cup three times and his talent and creativity were incomparable. Pele did things that no other player would have even dreamed of doing, like the famous feint in the 1970 FIFA World Cup semi-final that became known as the "Pele run-around". Or the goal he scored in the 1958 FIFA World Cup final at the age of 17, when he flicked the ball over a defender and volleyed it into the net.

The image of this player punching the air to celebrate his goal is one of the most iconic in our sport and is an integral part of our history. In fact, since televised soccer was still in its infancy at the time, we only saw small glimpses of what he was capable of.

Most importantly, "The King" ascended the throne with a smile on his face. Soccer could be brutal in those days, and Pele was often bullied. But, if he knew how to defend himself, he was always an exemplary sportsman, with a true respect for his opponents.

I had the great privilege to meet him several times. In 2016, already as president of FIFA, we were side by side for the premiere of the Pele movie, which reminded me of the moment when I was sitting next to my father in 1981, when he took me to see "Escape to Victory" in which Pele played alongside Silvester Stallone and other famous actors.

I was 11 years old and my father told me what a great player Pele was. The fantastic goal he scored in that movie was the only way, at that time, to get a glimpse of his incredible talent.

The moments I spent with him will always remain in my memory and in my heart.

Pele had a magnetic presence and when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped.
His life was not just about soccer. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, South America and the world.

His legacy is impossible to sum up in words.

To his family and friends, to the CBF, to Brazil and to all the soccer fans who loved him so much, I offer my sincere condolences.

Today we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our beloved Pele, but he attained immortality long ago and so he will be with us for eternity.

Gianni Infantino - FIFA President


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