Football world mourns King Pele
The world of football bids farewell to late legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele.
Brazil started three days of national mourning on Friday for football legend Pele, the three-time World Cup winner, who has died at the age of 82.
Pele, also known as "O Rei" (The King), died Thursday at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo after a long battle with cancer.
The football world -- from current stars to his former teammates -- honored the man who scored a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 matches during a career spanning more than two decades.
Brazil star Neymar said Pele "transformed football into an art."
France's Kylian Mbappe said his legacy "will never be forgotten," and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo called him an "inspiration to millions."
Argentina's World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi wrote, "Rest in peace."
On his part, Mario Zagallo, who won the World Cup alongside Pele in 1958 and 1962, said the King had "stopped the world several times" with his talent.
"He leaves an eternal, unforgettable legacy," 91-year-old Zagallo said.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who declared three days of national mourning, said Pele had made football an "art and joy," while President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is due to take office Sunday, tweeted: "There had never been a number 10 like him."
Pele is the only footballer in history to have won three World Cups -- in 1958, 1962, and 1970.
A wake will take place on Monday, followed by a funeral on Tuesday in Santos, the southeastern city where he played most of his career. The city declared seven days of mourning as fans flocked to the team's stadium to leave flowers.
In Rio de Janeiro, the Christ the Redeemer statue which overlooks the city was illuminated in homage to Pele, as was the legendary Maracana stadium.
In front of the hospital where he died, fans held up a banner that read: "Eternal King Pele."
Born on October 23, 1940, in the southeastern city of Tres Coracoes, Pele - originally Edson Arantes do Nascimento, grew up selling peanuts on the street to help his impoverished family.
He was given the nickname Pele for his mispronunciation of Bile, the name of a goalkeeper at Vasco de Sao Lourenco, where his father once played.
At age of 15, Pele started playing professionally with Santos. He led the club to a flurry of titles, including back-to-back Intercontinental Cups in 1962-1963.
He set his scoring records playing for Santos (1956-74), the Brazilian national team, and the New York Cosmos (1975-77).
At the age of 17-year-old, Pele burst into tears after helping Brazil to its first World Cup title, in 1958. Eight years earlier, he had promised to bring the trophy home one day after seeing his father cry when Brazil lost the 1950 World Cup final on home soil to Uruguay.
When he was sick, he continued to communicate through social media. During the World Cup in Qatar this month, he urged Neymar not to retire from the Brazil team after the pre-tournament favorites were eliminated in the quarter-finals.
"He has gone, but his magic will remain. Pele is ETERNAL!," Neymar said following the King's death.
Read more: S.America should host 2030 World Cup: Football Chief