Kylian Mbappe has led tributes to Pele from a plethora of football stars past and present following his death on Thursday, with the France forward saluting the late Brazil forward and a legacy that “will never be forgotten”.
The three-time World Cup winner passed away aged 82 following a battle with colon cancer, sending the football and wider sporting world into mourning.
Pele, a 77-goal Selecao star who remains one of the game’s all-time greats, was the only teenager to score in a World Cup final until Mbappe did so at Russia 2018 four years ago.
Now, the 23-year-old has paid his respects to the ‘king of football’, highlighting his achievements as having helped to define the sport.
“The king of football has left us, but his legacy will never be forgotten,” Mbappe wrote on Twitter.
The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten.
RIP KING … pic.twitter.com/F55PrcM2Ud
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) December 29, 2022
Mbappe’s PSG team-mate and Spain international Sergio Ramos also offered his tribute, adding: “To say he was a legend is an understatement. Football will always remember you.”
Hablar de leyenda o de figura histórica se queda corto. Simplemente, se nos ha ido #ORei. El fútbol te recordará siempre. Descansa en paz, Pelé.
To say he was a legend is an understatement. #ORei is gone. Football will always remember you. Rest in peace, Pelé. pic.twitter.com/0Wc0bEjScv
— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) December 29, 2022
Barcelona and Poland forward Robert Lewandowski said “heaven has a new star” in his post reflecting upon Pele’s legacy, a sentiment shared by former Germany international Mesut Ozil.
Rest in peace Champion
Heaven has a new star, and the football world lost a hero. pic.twitter.com/t6U2vV1QY4
— Robert Lewandowski (@lewy_official) December 29, 2022
Rest in peace to one of the greatest legends of the game
Your legacy will live forever.
I’m sure ‘Heaven FC’ with Maradona and Pele together will be invincible foreverpic.twitter.com/KimzUxhIik
— Mesut Özil (@M10) December 29, 2022
Manchester City striker Erling Haaland argued that “everything you see any player [do], Pele did it first”, while Wales forward Gareth Bale suggested the Brazilian was “the reason so many of us love football”.
Everything you see any player doing, Pelé did it first. RIP pic.twitter.com/SeW0z1hQTm
— Erling Haaland (@ErlingHaaland) December 29, 2022
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) December 29, 2022
Former England international and 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner Gary Lineker called him “the most divine of footballers and joyous of men”, adding that Pele has secured “footballing immortality”.
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
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 29, 2022
— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) December 29, 2022