Pele Dies: Brazil great's defining moments – from World Cup magic to Copa Libertadores glory

By Sports Desk December 29, 2022

Brazil legend and three-time World Cup winner Pele has died at the age of 82, leaving behind one of the greatest sporting legacies.

Pele passed away in Sao Paulo on Thursday, leaving the football world in mourning for the loss of one of its all-time legends.

Across a playing career that spanned over two decades, Pele scored for fun and won countless honours.

Here, Stats Perform has picked through some of the iconic moments that helped shape his mystique and reputation in the game.

 

The Selecao double (1958 World Cup Final)

Already a talent back home, Pele was yet to even complete his first year with Brazil when he caught the imagination half the world away in Sweden, with a string of superb performances at his first World Cup.

He capped it by becoming the then-youngest player to feature in a World Cup final, at 17 years and 249 days, and scored a brace to help his side to victory – including an audacious first that saw him volley a great finish.

 

The Copa brace (Santos 3-0 Penarol, 1962 Copa Libertadores Finals)

For back-to-back years, Uruguayan heavyweights Penarol had been the undisputed kings of South American club football, but over a two-legged final, Santos had been able to hold them at bay.

That forced a third leg, a playoff to decide who would be crowned Copa Libertadores champions – Pele scored a rapid-fire brace after the restart to put the result beyond doubt.

The halfway-line shot (Brazil 4-1 Czechoslovakia, 1970 World Cup)

A dozen years on from Sweden, and having missed his side's victorious final in 1962 through injury, Pele headed to Mexico for what many assumed to be a chance at correcting unfinished business.

In their first game of the tournament, Brazil ran out convincing winners against Czechoslovakia – but it was the forward's non-goal, an audacious lob from the halfway line that was just pulled wide, that many remember as an enterprising play.

The wonder save (England 0-1 Brazil, 1970 World Cup)

If another moment from the tournament lives fast in the memory though, it's another miss from Pele – but on this occasion, the attacker can't be blamed for not finishing this effort.

He looked to have done everything right, planting a superb downward header off a cross from out wide, only for England goalkeeper Gordon Banks to acrobatically keep it out. A defining moment for both men.

The dummied miss (Uruguay 1-3 Brazil, 1970 World Cup)

It is a testament to how enshrined 1970 – Pele's third and final World Cup triumph – is in his legacy that it is three chances, three misses that linger in the memory.

This time, Pele took the ball on to Uruguay goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz and dummied him, before rounding to the right to strike. His shot agonisingly missed the bottom-left corner – but still didn't hurt his side's victory.

Related items

  • Roma match abandoned after Evan Ndicka collapses against Udinese Roma match abandoned after Evan Ndicka collapses against Udinese

    Sunday’s Serie A clash between Udinese and Roma was abandoned after Ivory Coast international Evan Ndicka collapsed on the pitch.

    The 24-year-old Roma defender went down off the ball with 72 minutes played at the Bluenergy Stadium and was carried off on a stretcher after treatment.

    His club later confirmed that the former Auxerre and Eintracht Frankfurt player was conscious and had been taken to hospital for checks.

    A statement on Roma’s official X – formerly Twitter – account read: “Following the on-field medical emergency involving Evan Ndicka, the match between Udinese and Roma has been suspended.

    “The player is conscious and has been taken to hospital for further checks. Forza Evan, we are all with you!”

    Udinese tweeted simply: “We are with you, Ndicka.”

    Roberto Pereyra had given the home side the lead before the break, but Romelu Lukaku made it 1-1 with 64 minutes gone.

  • Mikel Arteta tells Arsenal to ‘stand up and be counted’ after Aston Villa blow Mikel Arteta tells Arsenal to ‘stand up and be counted’ after Aston Villa blow

    Mikel Arteta has told his Arsenal players to “stand up and be counted” after their Premier League title bid took a hit with defeat to Aston Villa.

    Two late goals gave Unai Emery and his players a deserved 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium to boost their own top-four hopes.

    In yet another twist in the title run-in, the Gunners were well beaten as Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins struck within three minutes of one another to stun the home fans.

    Liverpool had lost at home to Crystal Palace earlier on Sunday and a fifth league defeat of the campaign for Arsenal leaves Mikel Arteta’s side in second – two points behind reigning champions Manchester City.

    Asked if he was concerned Arsenal’s season could fizzle out – much as it did last season – from this point, Arteta’s reply was bullish.

    “If one result is going to do that then we are not strong enough,” said the Spaniard, whose side had been unbeaten in the league in 2024 .

    “That’s very simple. We had one of the best performances that we’ve had all season in the first half against a really good team. It should have been three or four (goals) or more. It didn’t happen. In the second half the momentum shifted.

    “We could not control and generate what we did in the first half. We conceded two very poor goals and we lost the game.

    “Congratulate the opponent and stand up. Now the moment is to stand up and be counted. When you win and win and win for four months it’s very simple to do it. The moment to do it is now.”

    Villa were brilliant in a second half they dominated and their superiority eventually paid off as substitute Bailey tapped home at the back post before Watkins took advantage of Arsenal’s high line to burst through on goal and finish with aplomb.

    The visitors had also hit the woodwork through both Watkins and Youri Tielemans and Arsenal must now recover ahead of the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final away to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, with the tie evenly-poised at 2-2.

    “If you want to win championships, if you want to be there in the Champions League, when you have these moments you have to stand up,” added Arteta.

    “If not that means that you don’t have a quality that is very necessary. Now it’s a big test for us.

    “In any other league in the world if you won the number of games in a row that we did, you would be six or eight points clear. That is not the case here. That is the challenge.”

    This was former Arsenal boss Emery’s first trip to the Emirates Stadium with his Villa side – who moved three points clear of Tottenham to strengthen their hold on fourth place in the quest for Champions League football.

    “Of course, beating Arsenal here is very difficult and we needed to play and be focused 100 per cent and be very demanding in everything,” he said.

    “We needed the biggest commitment to do better than we did against Manchester City (a 4-1 loss) that was the sample we used for this match.

    “This is the level I want to get to with our players and progressively, we are getting better.”

  • Arsenal and Liverpool dealt heavy blows in title race by Aston Villa and Palace Arsenal and Liverpool dealt heavy blows in title race by Aston Villa and Palace

    Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins scored in the final six minutes as Aston Villa stunned Arsenal with a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium to put a huge dent in Mikel Arteta’s Premier League title hopes.

    With Liverpool having gone down 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace earlier in the day, Arsenal stood to move three points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side but they were left reeling from their first league loss of 2024 by a superb away performance by Villa, who moved three clear of Tottenham in the race to finish fourth.

    Arteta’s team were on top during the first half and should have taken the lead when Leandro Trossard met a low cross from close range but saw his effort brilliantly turned away by the foot of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

    Moments before, Watkins had struck the inside of a post for Villa who were a constant threat on the counter-attack before taking control in the second half.

    Youri Tielemans hit the crossbar just after the break, before two late goals handed the initiative in the title race to champions Manchester City, who lead the way by two points.

    At Anfield, Eberechi Eze’s goal after 14 minutes, tapped in from Tyrick Mitchell’s cutback, proved the difference as Liverpool fell to a first home league defeat of the season.

    Klopp’s side were guilty of profligate finishing with Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones all responsible for glaring misses, while goalkeeper Dean Henderson put in a fine display with a number of key saves.

    Wataru Endo hit the crossbar in the first half when Palace failed to clear a corner, but they hung on for just a second victory under Oliver Glasner to leave Liverpool two points off the top.

    Elsewhere, Fulham ran out 2-0 winners against West Ham at the London Stadium, Andreas Pereira scoring a goal in either half to damage the home side’s European ambitions.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.