We have breaking news and sad news, soccer legend Pelé has died at the age of 82. That is according to a statement released now by his family. They added everything we are always thanks to you. We love you infinite. Rest in peace. The Brazilian star’s health had deteriorated in recent days as he continued his battle against cancer. Don Riddell has more information on Pelle’s life. Reporter: When the world knows you by a name you really succeed. His humble attitude and generous spirit have ensured his legacy as a global icon. You know, I’m very comfortable because something that I can’t answer, is why did God give me this, you know, this gift.
This was a gift from God. So I tried to be at my best. Respect to the people. I tried to prepare myself. I tried to deal with good form, you know. The most important thing is respect for people. Reporter: Raised in the columns of Sao Paulo in the 1940s, he discovered soccer at an early age. He made his debut at the age of 16. Within a year, he was scoring goals for the Brazilian team. At the time, he was better known by his nickname Pele. In 1958, at age 17, he became the youngest man to play in a World Cup final, scoring twice as Brazil beat Sweden.
It was the first of three world titles he would help win for his country. He electrified the crowd with his graceful footwork and his ability to score apparent and plausible goals. It was somewhat disappointing that his 1,000th goal was a penalty. And a funny guy in Brazil, he said, listen, God has brought the game because everyone has to see your 1000th goal. That’s the reason why the penalty kick. Reporter: After his goal, the game was stopped for several minutes to celebrate his historic achievement. In 1967, Pelé learned that he and his team had the power to stop other things, too.
When they visited Nigeria, the warring factions called for a 48-hour ceasefire in the war. They stopped the war because people are crazy about soccer. They loved soccer. They stopped the war to see the ball played in Africa. Something you can’t explain. Reporter: When Pelé returns as a soccer player playing for the cosmos, he has accumulated 2,281 goals. For Pele, that was a lifetime ago. He served as the UN Ambassador for ecology and the environment. He rubbed shoulders with state leaders from around the world. And he received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth in 1987. But who could forget his appearance in the film “Escape to Victory.” After I score a goal, I do this, this, this, this, easy.
Reporter: When he starred opposite Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone as a prisoner of war he scored a spectacular goal against the Germans to boost morale. First of all, it’s a gift from God. Second, it was a lot of work, I had work and training. And it occurred to me to say thank God because my father was a soccer player. A center forward. And then my father was a well-known perfectionist. You know, ever since he used to do, or tried to do, he used to say, listen, you’ve got to do it. Reporter: Who else has always been a global icon, but in his native Brazil, he will always be considered a national treasure?
His death is a reason for national mourning and, as he himself humorously expressed it, there will never be another fight. To do that again would be very difficult, because my mother and my father. What an incredible life, player and person CNN’s Don Riddell was. He will now join us by phone with Chris Whittingham, football analyst and commentator. First, to you about the impact of skin. Everyone knows his name, even if you’re not a sports fan, he’s an icon in his own right. There’s no question, I think when you look at the history of sports in this country, you look at, for example, in the United States, he comes to play for the New York cosmos in the mid-1970s.
As a result, his name almost became synonymous with the sport because it was not very popular for several years. If you were to say the word “soccer” or the word soccer, you would say pele and you would say it in a variety of ways, pele, pele, you would know the notoriety in the name. He comes from many generations of Americans and obviously around the world he is known for being such an influential person in sports, champion of sports in Brazil and around the world. He remains a three-time world cup winner – we just celebrated Lionel Messi for celebrating one.
Pelé was left behind, he did it three, just because he did it on black and white television, because he hasn’t done it in this match. he was going to ask you about the comparisons. 1281 goals in his life. You talked about him winning three world cups. One of the stories that I had heard about him that always stood out to me was during 1967, there were factions that were fighting a civil war in Nigeria. And this is the power of pele. They agreed, two sides fighting, they agreed to a ceasefire so he could play an exhibition game in Nigeria.
It just shows the power this man had to almost bring people together. He literally stopped the fight so he could come and play and give people relief. Do you have any anecdote that you like to remember, especially about pele? Yeah, for me, I think it’s just the impact of him on the sport in the United States. I don’t think it can be underestimated. You talk to football agnostic people, in America. And even they, for a brief moment in time, in the mid-1970s, when he was playing for the New York Cosmos. And as you say, it’s just his ability to present that impact almost no matter where he is.
Because now it’s very easy to suggest global celebrity, right, we have social media and we have all these skills to translate celebrity. But I think when you look at where the world was at then, he wins a world cup in 1958 and again in 1962, in 1958, he came to the quad from Brazil when he was 17 years old. And he lit up that World Cup and scored a goal in the final against Sweden. And from there he becomes this only word that is synonymous with sport. And as you say, almost diplomatically in a weird way. He can go anywhere in the world and stop traffic.
And stop what was happening. I remember growing up and hearing this man’s name and it was like…he was praised. He was commendable. It was something that was synonymous with something we can’t even access, because he came from a different time. And, yes, to me, the way that he came to the United States and changed the way Americans viewed soccer was just incredible. I think he laid the foundation with what we see in big league soccer, I think when a lot of big soccer stars came along led by Pelé, he was a big part of that. he was a beautiful player in a beautiful game but also a beautiful spirit.
He did a lot after football. And the one thing that I think we all remember, anyone who has seen a video of Pelé playing or has been able to see it in person, is that famous bicycle kick. He made him famous. And now you see the players doing it too. But incredible athlete and person. And I just want to end here with what his name really is. People call him pele, but actually his official name is