Brazil has woken up to its first day without footballing legend Pelé.
Fidel Info reports that “The King”, who won three World Cups and was widely considered the greatest footballer of all time, died at the age of 82 in São Paulo on Thursday.
Overnight, Pelé’s face shone on buildings across the South American nation and landmarks were lit up in his memory. Fans took to the streets dressed in his iconic number 10 shirt.
Brazil’s government has declared three days of national mourning.
The front pages in Brazil were all talking about Pelé on Friday. One read “Pelé died, if indeed Pelé can die”, because for Brazilians, he is their eternal King.
The last time national mourning was declared was when Queen Elizabeth II died. Lots of parallels have been drawn between Pelé and royalty – he was the closest Brazil had.
Supporters started gathering outside São Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital the previous afternoon when they heard news of Pele’s death.
Pelé had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021. Knowing his condition was worsening, Brazilians had spent weeks reflecting on his life and legacy.
Many feel relieved his suffering is over – but he is an iconic sportsman who will be dearly missed.
The hospital issued a statement confirming his death from multiple organ failure connected to his cancer.
But in a reflection of his status, the hospital added it shared the suffering felt by the family and everyone over the loss of “our beloved King of football”.
One man, standing outside the Fiesp building in São Paulo as it displayed a colourful tribute, spoke of the intensity of feeling for Pelé.
“It is indescribable to say at this moment what we are going through here; the loss,” Widisley Guimarães said.
Tributes have poured in for the late footballer, including from Brazil forward Neymar, who said: “Before Pelé, football was only a sport.
“Pelé changed everything. He turned football into art, into entertainment. He gave a voice to the poor, to black people.”
France striker and Neymar’s Paris St-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappé added “his legacy will never be forgotten”.
Pelé scored a world record of 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during a 21-year career, including 77 goals in 92 matches for his country.
The only player to win the World Cup three times, lifting the trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970, Pelé was named Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000.
But he was a cultural icon, too.
As a black man, Pelé rose to the status of national treasure in a country with a deep history of slavery and legacy of segregation that persists.
He regularly faced monkey chants on the pitch and was called several racist nicknames. But Pelé once said that if he had stopped every game after a monkey taunt, he would have had to stop them all.
Pelé was key to carving out space and recognition for black people in Brazilian football, his biographer Angelica Basthi has said, but he was never directly involved in the fight against racism.
While national mourning will last for three days, São Paulo state authorities have said their period of mourning will go on for a week. But really, Brazilians will mourn for much longer.
Pelé’s wake will be held on Monday at the Santos Football club – for many years, his home stadium.
The following day, his coffin will be carried through the streets of the coastal city of Santos, before a private burial.
This weekend was expected to be momentous in Brazil as Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – whose swearing in takes place on Sunday – returns to the presidency, 20 years after the start of his first term in office.
Instead, Brazilians will be paying tribute to a man who transcended politics – a man who represented this entire footballing nation.
BREAKING: Benjamin Mendy Acquitted Of Rape Charges
Benjamin Mendy, a defender for Manchester City, has been cleared of seven of the nine allegations brought against him.
Fidel Info reports that the defender was exonerated of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault following a nearly five-month trial.
However, after 13 days of deliberation at Chester Crown Court, the jury was unable to make a decision on two more accusations against Mendy: one count of attempted rape in October 2018 involving a woman aged 29, and one count of rape in October 2020 involving a woman aged 24.
On the two charges where a verdict could not be reached, the Crown Prosecution Service has seven days to determine whether to pursue a retrial.
Louis Saha Matturie, Mendy’s co-accused, was found not guilty on three counts.
Six accusations against him could result in a retrial.
When Mendy was arrested in August 2021, Manchester City suspended him and ceased paying him in September.
This summer, his contract expires.
Chelsea Reach Agreement To Sign Joao Felix On Loan
A verbal agreement has been reached between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid for Joao Felix to join them on loan.
Fidel Info reports that Fabrizio Romano said that an agreement has been agreed for the Portuguese to play the rest of the season at the Bridge for a €11 million sum with Chelsea paying 100% of his wage.
Additionally, according to the source, Felix will fly to London in the next hours to take part in medical examinations as he prepares to finalize his transfer to the English giants.
Iwobi To Return To Football In Feb
Alex Iwobi, a midfielder for Everton, is anticipated to play against Arsenal on February 3 after missing the previous three weeks due to ankle ligament damage sustained during Friday’s 3-1 FA Cup third-round loss to Manchester United.
Fidel Info reports that following a vicious challenge by Tyrell Malacia in the 47th minute, the 26-year-old former Arsenal star injured his ankle ligaments.
Following a scan on Sunday, it was determined that the Nigerian would not need to sit out for an extended amount of time to receive treatment.
“Alex Iwobi is expected to be out for around three weeks with the ankle ligament injury sustained against Manchester United on Friday,” the club wrote on their website.
“The Everton midfielder was taken off on a stretcher early in the second half of the FA Cup tie at Old Trafford.
“Scan results on Saturday confirmed a lateral ligament injury that will be managed conservatively by the club’s medical team at Finch Farm.”
The injury is a further setback for Everton, who last week’s humiliating home loss to Brighton caused them to slip into the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Iwobi thanked Everton supporters for their support and assured them that he would be back soon in a post on social media.
The midfielder wrote, “Appreciate the love, back soon.”
Iwobi, who played in all 18 of Everton’s Premier League games this season, had been one of the team’s standout players prior to getting hurt. He had one goal and five assists.
With 15 points from 18 games, the Toffees are in 18th place in the table, and Iwobi’s absence will be noticed as Frank Lampard struggles to keep his team out of the relegation zone.
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