'Pele is forever!' Lionel Messi, Mbappe, Neymar mourn football legend's death at 82

'Pele is forever!' Lionel Messi, Mbappe, Neymar mourn football legend's death at 82
Lionel Messi and Mbappe paid tributes to football legend Pele who died at the age of 82 (Elsa, Robert Cianflone, Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL: Legendary football player Pele died at the age of 82, and tributes are pouring in from football stars worldwide.

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Following the news of Pele's death on Thursday after his battle with colon cancer, players including Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Gary Lineker and Sir Geoff Hurst took to social media to share their memories of the three-time World Cup champion.

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Soon after Pele's death was confirmed, Neymar posted a heartfelt message on Instagram. "Before Pelé, 10 was just a number," the PSG and Brazil star penned. "I’ve read this phrase somewhere, at some point in my life. But this sentence, beautiful, is incomplete. I would say before Pelé football was just a sport. Pelé has changed it all." Neymar added, "He turned football into art, into entertainment. Gave voice to the poor, blacks and mostly: Gave visibility to Brazil. Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King! He's gone but his magic remains. Pelé is FOREVER!!"

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Sir Geoff Hurst also posted a heart touching tribute for the late football star Pele. He wrote, "I have so many memories of Pele, without doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside). For me Pele remains the greatest of all time and I was proud to be on the the pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you."

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Gary Lineker, the former England international called Pele a "joyous man" in his tribute. He wrote, "Pele has died. The most divine of footballers and joyous of men. He played a game only a few chosen ones have come close to. 3 times he lifted the most coveted gold trophy in that beautiful yellow shirt. He may have left us but he’ll always have footballing immortality. RIP Pele."

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Along with a photo of the Brazilian, Kylian Mbappe wrote: "The king of football has left us, but his legacy will never be forgotten."RIP KING."

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Brazil's football association shared a photo of Pele on Twitter after his demise, along with three crowns to represent his three World Cup victories, as the country's foremost football star.

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"Rest in peace, @pele," wrote Lionel Messi with a photo of himself and Pele.



 

Gary Neville, a former player who is now a pundit, also tweeted. "Rest in Peace the legend Pele. What a Smile," tweeted Neville, adding a photograph of himself with the illustrious personage, a yellow love emoji, and a Brazilian flag. Neville posted another photograph and wrote, "One of the greatest to have graced the beautiful game. Farewell, Pelé. You will never be forgotten."

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Following Pele's death, numerous football clubs from around the world tweeted their own tributes, and on Thursday, clubs in Europe observed a minute of applause before the start of their games. FIFA president Gianni Infantino stated, "Pelé had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped."



 

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There were tributes from other sports as well. Usain Bolt, a world-record-holding, legendary Jamaican athlete, said, "A sporting legend. Rest in peace King Pele."



 

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Later, in honor of the 82-year-old icon, the Wembley arch was illuminated in Brazilian flag colors.



 

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