Pele’s influence on football will be ‘eternal’, says Pep Guardiola

Brazil great Pele died on Thursday (Rui Vieira/PA) (PA Wire)
Brazil great Pele died on Thursday (Rui Vieira/PA) (PA Wire)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Pele’s influence in the world game will be everlasting.

Three-times World Cup winner Pele, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, died in Sao Paulo on Thursday at the age of 82 after a lengthy battle with colon cancer.

The Brazilian’s death has sparked a huge outpouring of affection and respect from around the globe.

These type of players will be forever, they will be eternal.

Pep Guardiola

Guardiola said: “On behalf of Manchester City, the biggest condolences for his family and friends. Football is football thanks to these types of people.

Neymar said a great sentence when he said before (Pele) number 10 was just a number and after it became something special.

“Every top player wanted to wear number 10 in their team. What he has done for football is there and always will remain.

“It’s like a good movie, the legacy after many years. That we are still talking about him like a good movie or a good book is because he was so good.

“I think Pele, (Diego) Maradona, (Johan) Cruyff, (Lionel) Messi, (Franz) Beckenbauer, Cristiano Ronaldo – these type of players will be forever, they will be eternal.

“They have done many things in many years on the pitch and off it and with their teams and countries.

“These type of players make our business, our work, our job, however you want to say it, a better place because what he produced, what we have seen in the World Cup, what one team can produce can change 48 million people, the country. It’s unbelievable.”

Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe also hailed Pele’s impact on and off the pitch.

Howe said: “As a player, he was incredibly talented. You look back at his goals, they’re all different types – some of them were in black and white. Some of them are spectacular, some of them are tap-ins, he had a mixture.

“A lot of them are headers as well – he was very good in the air, a very good spring for a small guy.

“As a footballer, although I was a defender, I love to watch goals, believe it or not, so it was a showreel of his goals and his best moments.

“But there are some iconic sporting moments. As a person, I never met him so I didn’t know him, but you look back at the sportsmanship, Bobby Moore at the end of the game in 1970, and those iconic images are so powerful and I’d give him a lot of credit for that as well.”

Howe is too young to remember Pele as a player, but was always well aware of his stature in the game.

He said: “I’ve seen videos, especially the England v Brazil game in 1970. In my era, you grew up knowing of Pele, thinking of him as the best player the world had ever seen at that moment.

“It’s very, very sad. Whenever an icon passes away, it’s a very sad moment for football. Seeing the reaction of everybody, media, everyone connected with football, he’s certainly well remembered around the world.”

Such is Pele’s standing in Brazil that Howe will put an arm around compatriots Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton as the nation comes to terms with his loss.

He said: “I’ll chat with the Brazilian players that we have. He’s an absolute giant in Brazil for obvious reasons for what he achieved for the country, so I’ll certainly be having a conversation and speaking to them about him.”

Frank Lampard, the former England and Chelsea midfielder who is now manager of Everton, recognises the enormous impact Pele had in the game.

Lampard, 44, said: “There’s huge respect for him as a player and as a person, as all the responses since yesterday have shown. He was a great man as well as a great player.

“He was one of the greatest without doubt, so a sad day for football.

“The reach of his name in the game was obviously huge. It just gets bigger with age. We have lost him unfortunately but his name will continue for evermore because of his impact on the game.”

The Premier League and EFL have said as a mark of respect, all games this weekend will see players wear black armbands with a minute’s applause prior to kick-off.