Black armbands and applause to remember Brazilian football legend Pelé

The football player Pelé has been remembered at kick off across the country Credit: PA

There has been applause, moments of silent reflection and black armbands on display at football grounds across the country this afternoon in tribute to the Brazilian football legend Pelé who died this week (Thursday 29 December) at the age of 82.

He helped his national side to four World Cup finals and is the only player to win the tournament three times, which he did between 1958 and 1970.  

In Brazil, he was known simply as 'O Rei' - The King - and is considered a national hero.

He had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021 and had been hospitalised in Sao Paulo for the last month with multiple ailments.

Preparations are underway in Brazil for his funeral, but such is his global reputation, clubs and football fans here wanted to pay their respects today.

Before Coventry's game against Bristol at the Coventry Building Society Arena, players observed a minute's applause in tribute.

Credit: PA

Similarly, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa players stood for a minute's applause at the London stadium.

Credit: PA

In Kidderminster, the Harriers and their fans wore black arm bands in tribute to two footballers. Alongside Pelé they were remembering Cody Fisher, a young footballer who died after being stabbed on the dance floor of a Birmingham nightclub on Boxing Day.

He played for various Midlands clubs including in Bromsgrove, Walsall and the Harriers Academy.

Port Vale fans who'd travelled to their side's away game at Forest Green Rovers joined in the applause.

There was a minute's applause at the City Ground too, ahead of Nottingham Forest's game against Chelsea.

Former Forest captain John McGovern paid tribute saying, "He was considered to be the greatest player in the world and rightfully so, with his goalscoring record, his flair and being the winner of three World Cups; he was an all-round exciting, inspiring and talented player."McGovern recalled meeting him at a soccer camp in New York.

"He was a very humble man, very straightforward and there was no airs or graces about him."I was delighted to go along and didn't realise he was actually going to be there. We met and had a brief chat, I asked him why he was there and he said tongue in cheek 'my wife and kids have spent all my money!' So we had a joke and a laugh and talked as normal about football."

Brazil's outgoing president declared a three-day period of mourning following the death of Pelé - born Edson Arantes do Nascimento.

A 24-hour wake, open to the public, will be held at the stadium of Santos FS, Pelé's hometown club where he began playing as a teenager, with his coffin lying at the centre of the field.

On Tuesday his coffin will be paraded through the neighbourhood where his 100-year-old mother lives before a private burial.