Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo among those who paid tribute to Pelé after his passing

The world mourned the loss of a footballing legend.

Syahindah Ishak | December 30, 2022, 12:33 PM

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Tributes to football legend Pelé poured in from prominent figures around the world following the Brazilian's death on Dec. 29, 2022.

He was 82.

Tributes from current football players

Lionel Messi

Messi, who recently lifted the World Cup trophy for Argentina, posted pictures of him with Pelé on Instagram, along with the caption: "Rest in peace, @pele.”

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A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo offered his condolences to all of Brazil, particularly to Pelé's family.

He wrote on Instagram:

"A mere 'goodbye' to the eternal King Pelé will never be enough to express the pain that the entire football world is currently embracing. An inspiration to so many millions, a reference of yesterday, today, and forever.

The love [Pelé] always showed me was reciprocated in every moment we shared, even from distance. He will never be forgotten and his memory will live forever in each and every one of us football lovers."

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A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano)

Kylian Mbappé

France's star player Mbappé, who plays for French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), dedicated a post to Pelé on his Twitter and Instagram pages, saying: "The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten."

Erling Haaland

Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, who plays for Manchester City, said that "everything you see any player [do], Pelé did it first".

Robert Lewandowski

Poland and FC Barcelona striker Lewandowski described Pelé as a "champion", adding that "heaven has a new star".

Sergio Ramos

Spanish centre-back Sergio Ramos said: "To say [Pelé] was a legend is an understatement... Football will always remember you."

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A post shared by Sergio Ramos (@sergioramos)

Mo Salah

Liverpool forward Mo Salah wrote on Instagram: "Farewell to a legend of football."

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A post shared by Mohamed Salah (@mosalah)

Tributes from current Brazil national team


PSG Brazilian forward Neymar said on Instagram that Pelé had "changed it all".

Neymar, who is currently the all-time Brazilian joint record top goal-scorer with Pelé, added:

"Before Pelé, 10 was just a number. I’ve read this phrase somewhere, at some point in my life. But this sentence, while beautiful, is incomplete. I would say before Pelé, football was just a sport.

Pelé had changed it all. He turned football into art, into entertainment. [He] gave voice to the poor, blacks and most importantly, [he] gave visibility to Brazil."

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A post shared by NJ 🇧🇷 (@neymarjr)


Brazil and Tottenham Hotspur forward Richarlison, who excelled in the recent Qatar World Cup, said that Pelé's death marks the end of football's "most beautiful chapter".

Vinícius Jr

Brazilian winger Vinícius Jr., who plays for Real Madrid, referred to Pelé as "king", "majesty", and "an example" on Instagram.

"His legacy will never be forgotten. Pelé is timeless," Vinícius added.

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A post shared by Vinicius Jr. ⚡️🇧🇷 (@vinijr)

Thiago Silva

Brazil captain and Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva described Pelé as the "king of football" who changed the history of the sport.


Brazilian defensive midfielder Casemiro, who plays for Manchester United, took to Twitter to thank Pelé for the "glory" he gave to Brazil.


Brazilian winger Antony, who also plays for Man United, wrote on his Instagram and Twitter pages: "The biggest of all! The king, the inspiration, the example, the only one, the eternal!!"


Brazil forward Rodrygo, who, like Pelé, began his professional football career in Brazilian club Santos, said on Instagram that Dec. 29 will "always be a sad date" for him.

He added: "We grow up in Santos hearing people talk about you every day — how good you were playing and as a person. Thank God I had the opportunity to meet you in person, it was one of the most special days of my life! Thank you King."

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A post shared by Rodrygo Goes - RG ⚡️🇧🇷 (@rodrygogoes)

Dani Alves

Brazilian right-back Dani Alves wrote on Instagram: "When we complete our mission, God takes us back with him. Rest in peace, king. My condolences to all the families."

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A post shared by Daniel Alves (@danialves)

Tributes from former footballers

Ronaldo Nazário

Brazilian legend and former FIFA World Player of the year Ronaldo wrote in an Instagram post:

"Unique. Cool. Technical. Creative. Perfect. One of a kind. Where Pelé arrived, he stayed. Without ever leaving the top, he leaves us today. The king of football - only one. The greatest of all time.

The world is mourning. The sadness of parting mixed with the immense pride of the written history. What a privilege to come after you, my friend. Your talent is a school every player should go through. Your legacy will transcend generations. And that's how it will stay alive. Today and always, we celebrate you."

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A post shared by Ronaldo (@ronaldo)

Roberto Carlos

Another Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos thanked Pelé for "everything [he] did for us".

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A post shared by Roberto Carlos (@oficialrc3)

David Beckham

In an Instagram post, England's former captain Beckham said that football was "his (Pelé's) beautiful game".

Pelé famously referred to football as "the beautiful game" in his 1977 autobiography.

The phrase was then popularised and is still being used to describe the sport by players, commentators, and pundits around the world.

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A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham)


Former Brazilian star Ronaldinho offered his condolences to Pelé's family.

"Rest in eternal peace, king," he added on Instagram.

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A post shared by Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (@ronaldinho)


Another one of Brazil's former star players Rivaldo said on Twitter that he is grateful that Pelé was a Brazilian.

"Our football is known and respected worldwide for everything [Pelé] has done on the field and will never be forgotten," said Rivaldo.

Zinedine Zidane

French professional football manager and former player Zidane described Pelé as "eternal" on Instagram.

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A post shared by zidane (@zidane)

Steven Gerrard

Former England and Liverpool skipper Gerrard, who is now a professional football manager, also dedicated an Instagram post to Pelé.

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A post shared by Steven Gerrard (@stevengerrard)

Robin van Persie

Former Netherlands captain and player Robin van Persie described Pelé as "an icon".

Peter Schmeichel

Denmark's most capped football player Peter Schmeichel said that Pelé "made the world fall in love with football".

Tributes from other athletes

Rafael Nadal

Spanish professional tennis player Rafael Nadal said on Twitter that Pelé's legacy "will always remain".

"I didn't see him play, I wasn't that lucky, but they always taught me and told me that he was the king of football," said Nadal.

Lewis Hamilton

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton dedicated a few Instagram stories to Pelé.

Usain Bolt

Retired Jamaican sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt described Pelé as a "sporting legend".

Tributes from leaders around the world

Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is due to take office in January 2023, tweeted that he had relished the privilege of watching Pele play live.

He added in a Twitter thread: "Few Brazilians have taken our country's name as far as he did... He didn't just play. He put on an all-out show."

Current Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro said that Pelé brought pride to Brazil.

"He turned football into art and joy," Bolsonaro added on Twitter.

Joe Biden

U.S. president Joe Biden tweeted that Pelé's journey to success is "a story of what is possible".

Emmanuel Macron

President of France Emmanuel Macron also dedicated a tweet to Pelé.

Barack Obama

Former U.S. president Barack Obama shared a picture he took with Pelé, saying:

"Pelé was one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. And as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, he understood the power of sports to bring people together."

Bill Clinton

Another former U.S. president, Bill Clinton, described Pelé as a football legend, a humanitarian, and a global icon.

Clinton added: "He used his platform to empower disenfranchised children and inspire generations around the world. We give thanks for his life and legacy."

Tan Chuan-Jin

Closer to home, president of the Singapore National Olympic Council and Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin dedicated a long Facebook and Instagram post to the football legend.

He said:

"If there ever was an icon for football, Pele would be it. He electrified the world with his skills and guile, he inspired generations of great footballers with his magic and joy, and he made us all fall in love with this beautiful game. It wasn’t just a contest on a field with 22 players , running helter skelter, chasing after a leather ball. It was poetry in motion, a full blooded passionate gladiatorial battle, a sublime contest of wits and wills."

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A post shared by Tan Chuan-Jin (@chuanjin1)

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Top images from leomessi/IG & KMbappe/Twitter.