Fifa said Pele was simply “immortal” after the Brazil legend, named by world football’s governing body as the greatest player of the 20th century, died on Thursday, aged 82.

“For everyone who loves the beautiful game, this is the day we never wanted to come. The day we lost Pele,” Fifa president Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

Pelé (1940-2022): A symbol for football played with passion, gusto and a smile

“Today, we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our dear Pele, but he achieved immortality a long time ago and therefore he will be with us for eternity.”

Pele is the only footballer, male or female, to have won three Fifa World Cups.

He was 17 when he won with Brazil in Sweden in 1958, scoring twice in the final. Then he won the World Cup again in Chile in 1962, despite being forced out of much of the tournament due to injury.

He lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy for the third and final time in Mexico in 1970.

Infantino added: “Pele had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped. His life is about more than football. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and across the world.”

Fifa noted that he was the youngest-ever world champion – not to mention the youngest scorer, youngest hat-trick scorer, youngest finalist and youngest player to score in a final in World Cup history.

Here’s a look at the life times of Pele, the legendary footballer and an icon off the pitch.

Pele made his debut for Santos as a 15-year-old |Reuters
Pele celebrates after scoring in the the 1970 Fifa World Cup final | Action Images / Reuters
Pele (L) at the 1958 Fifa World Cup | AFP
Pele spent the bulk of his career at Santos despite interest from European clubs | AFP
Pele played 92 matches for Brazil scoring 77 goals | AFP
Pele won three Fifa World Cup titles, the most by any player ever | Action Images / Reuters
Pele with the Jules Rimet Cup at a parade at the Champs-Elysees in Paris | AFP
Pele scored 1,281 goals in 1,366 games in his career according to Fifa | AFP
Pele served as Brazil’s Sports Minister from 1995 to 1998 | Edvaldo Ferreira / AFP
Pele was named Athlete of the Century in 1999 by the International Olympic Committee | Miguel Schincariol / AFP
Pele was voted as Fifa’s Player of the Century with Diego Maradona | Gabrial Bouys / AFP
Despite feuding over the title of the greatest footballer for decades, Pele and Maradona became friends in later years | Patrick Kovarik / AFP
Pele pictured with Nelson Mandela | Juda Ngwenya / Reuters
Pele with Johan Cruyff, the only player he said he wished was Brazilian | Fred Ernst / Reuters
Pele visited India many times including to unveil a statue of himself in Kolkata in 2015 | Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters
Pele with seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher | Mario Laporta / Reuters

Text via AFP