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Kylian Mbappé Says 'King of Football' Pelé Has Legacy That 'Will Never Be Forgotten'

Erin WalshDecember 29, 2022

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 02: (l-R) Edson Arantes do Nascimento a.k.a. Pele and Kylian Mbappe attend the 'Hublot loves Football': Pele and Kylian Mbappe meeting at Hotel Lutetia on April 02, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)
Marc Piasecki/Getty Images

Like the rest of the soccer community, Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappé is mourning Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, who died Thursday because of complications from colon cancer.

In a statement released on his social media accounts, Mbappé called Pelé the "king of football," adding that "his legacy will never be forgotten."

Kylian Mbappé @KMbappe

The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. <br>RIP KING 💔👑… <a href="https://t.co/F55PrcM2Ud">pic.twitter.com/F55PrcM2Ud</a>

Pelé, born as Edson Arantes do Nascimento, had a tumor removed from his colon in September 2021. He was admitted to Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo on Nov. 29 for reevaluation of his cancer treatment.

When news that Pelé was in the hospital spread, Mbappé was one of the first players to wish him well with a social media post on Dec. 3. At the time, he was playing for France in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Pelé responded thanking the Frenchman for his well wishes, adding that he was "happy" to see him break one of his World Cup records.

Pelé @Pele

Thank you, <a href="https://twitter.com/KMbappe?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KMbappe</a>. I'm happy to see you breaking another one of my records in this Cup, my friend! ❤️🙏🏾

With two goals in France's quarterfinals victory over Poland, Mbappé brought his World Cup goal total to nine, becoming the first player to score nine in the tournament before reaching age 24, passing record holder Pelé.

On Dec. 12, a medical report indicated that Pelé's condition was improving. However, he was never discharged from the hospital, and Mauricio Savarese of the Associated Press reported on Dec. 21 that his cancer had advanced and that he was under "elevated care" because of kidney and heart issues.

Pelé, a three-time World Cup winner, is tied with Neymar (124 games) as Brazil's all-time men's leading goal scorer with 77 goals in 92 games. He led the country to World Cup titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and will be remembered as one of the greatest soccer players of all time.