Brazilian striker, Neymar Junior, has said the late football icon, Pele, gave value to football and the number 10 jersey.
Neymar who plies his trade for Paris Saint Germain made the remarks in his tribute to Pele following the death of the three-time World Cup Winner on Thursday. In a statement seen by Pindula News, Neymar said:
Before Pelé, 10 was just a number.
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.
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!!
The former Santos FC star, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time (GOAT), had been at the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in Sao Paulo since 29 November.
A medical report just before Christmas showed that he needed care for cardiac and renal dysfunction, having been battling colon cancer since September 2021.
He died aged 82.
Pele – originally named Edson Arantes do Nascimento – began playing for Santos at the age of 15 and the Brazilian national team a year later, bursting onto the world football scene as a 17-year-old in the 1958 World Cup.