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SPORTS | 29-12-2022 18:37

'Rest in peace, Pelé,' – Messi, Argentina hail Brazilian great

World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi leads tributes from Argentina as football icons bid Brazilian hero Pelé farewell.

World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi led the rest of football-crazy Argentina in bidding Brazilian hero Pelé farewell on social media Thursday, posting photos of himself and "The King" taken in happier times.

"Rest in peace, Pelé," Messi wrote on Instagram after the announcement that the Brazilian legend had died in hospital at the age of 82 after a fight with cancer.

Former player Gabriel Batistuta, who was Argentina's all-time World Cup top scorer until Messi recently broke his record, also expressed his sympathies.

"Thank you for everything you gave to the football world. RIP legend," he wrote.

President Alberto Fernández, an ardent football fan, took to Twitter to declare: "One of the best footballers in history has left us."

The president added: "We will always remember those years when Pelé dazzled the world with his skills. A big hug to his family and the people of Brazil who will carry him in their hearts."

Many Argentines on social media remembered the message Pelé had sent on the death of their own Diego Maradona, another legend, who died at the age of 60 in 2020.

"One day, I hope, we will play football together in the sky," Pelé wrote at the time.

A host of local football clubs also expressed their condolences, among them Boca Juniors and River Plate. 

 

– TIMES/AFP

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