During the World Cup in Qatar, an absence hovered over the competition.

That of Pelé, essential ambassador of the event, which he is the only one to have won three times.

A fan of football despite cancer, the “king” had followed and commented on this World Cup from his hospital bed in Sao Paulo.

Eleven days after Argentina's coronation, the football legend passed away, leaving football fans orphaned.

The latter will no longer benefit from the good-natured appearances and good words of the “king” every four years, at each edition of the queen of competitions.

In addition to his goalscoring talent - 1,281 goals in 1,363 matches according to a far from official count and often inflated by Pelé himself - it was above all the World Cup that was the ground of his legend, notably thanks to the first televised broadcasts of the event.

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Pelé in pictures, an eternal football legend

Back to the three editions that crowned Pelé, "the immortal" in the words of Fifa.

1958: the coronation of the kid from Santos

For the first time in its history, the Football World Cup is broadcast in mondovision.

A stroke of luck, otherwise the football world could have missed a 17-year-old kid, who looks 15 in the image, a certain Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as "Pelé".

Injured just before the tournament in Sweden, the Santos FC teenager missed Brazil's first two games.

Indispensable in his position as a striker despite his very young age, he joined the group for the third meeting and the rest is history.

It accumulates precocity records.

He then became the youngest player to play a World Cup match and went on to set another record in the quarter-finals against Wales (1-0), becoming the youngest scorer in the event.

This was followed by a hat-trick in 23 minutes against France (5-2) by Fontaine and Kopa in the semi-final, then a double in the final against Sweden (5-2) where he showed the extent of his technical talents and thus became the youngest winner of a World Cup.

Carried in triumph by his elders, his tears remind the world of the kid he still is.

His teammate Gilmar whispers to him: "Cry, my boy. It will do you good."

Pelé (centre) cries on the shoulder of Brazilian goalkeeper Gilmar after his team's victory in the 1958 World Cup final, Brazil's first world title.

© AP

1962: from the stands, a frustrating double

Four years later, the kid is already a football great.

Europe is making eyes at him to attract him to his clubs, but he remains faithful to Santos.

A Santos that he took to his first title of champion of Brazil in 1959 before continuing with two titles during the championship of the State of Sao Paulo.

Brazil must defend their crown in Chile.

Pelé starts strong, with a goal against Mexico (2-0), but then gets injured against Czechoslovakia (0-0).

Sixty years before Neymar's ankle, Brazil is passionate about Pelé's thigh soap opera.

Despite everything, he will not be able to play an additional match.

It is from the gallery that he witnesses the coronation of his Seleçao, carried by Garrincha, the other Brazilian hero of the 1960s.

A bittersweet victory which already makes him the youngest player to have won two World Cups.

Pelé was injured during the 1962 World Cup, which did not prevent Brazil from being crowned at the end of the tournament.

© AP

1970: a colorful recital

In England, the birthplace of football, Pelé dreamed of a third consecutive coronation in 1966. Las.

The king of football and Brazil are the target of Bulgarian and Portuguese butchers under the impassive eyes of the referees.

Pelé is injured again and the Auriverdes go out the back door on the first lap.

Disgusted with the selection, the legend swears never to wear the yellow and blue jersey again.

He keeps his word for two years and then lets himself be convinced when a new talented generation emerges and his former teammate Zagallo takes the reins of the Seleçao.

Driven by a spirit of revenge, Pelé will write the most beautiful page of his history.

During the tournament, Pelé shines brightly as the competition is broadcast in color for the first time.

A whole generation of football enthusiasts see images of the madness of the Brazilian king and his dazzling yellow jersey imprinted on their retinas.

The tone is set from the start of the tournament.

Pelé scored a goal against Czechoslovakia (4-1) but it was above all his attempt at an incredible 50-meter lob on goalkeeper Viktor, who went from nothing next to the cages, which went around the world.

This stroke of genius calls for others, even if it means making the opponent shine.

In this case Banks, the English goalkeeper, who made the following match "the save of the century" on a powerful header from the Brazilian.

And the "King" joked about it for the rest of his life: "Today I scored a goal, but Banks stopped it".

After a double against Romania (3-2), which could have turned into a hat-trick if the referee had not refused him a goal, and a formal quarter-final against Peru (4-2), Pelé sees profile Uruguay on its way.

Again, the spirit of revenge is there.

All of Brazil has in mind the terrible "Maracanazo" of 1950. A home defeat against Celeste who deprived Brazil of their first world title.

A trauma that the Brazilian playwright Nelson Rodrigues compares to a local Hiroshima.

Pelé takes care of drying the tears of his country and of his father, whom he had seen crying that day: the revenge is perfect (3-1) and Pelé is still just short of scoring a goal from 'elsewhere.

In a wild inspiration, launched in full swing, he manages a large bridge on the goalkeeper without even touching the ball,

which he finally resumes with a shot that is barely too cross.

A feint passed down to posterity as the “Pelé feint”.

Pelé also left his mark on the final, which he won 4-1 with a weightless goal and a genius blind pass.

The scorer and the team player.

The triumph is total: the king wins the third jewel of his crown.

A crown that makes him definitively immortal. 

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