Tribute to King Pele: «In 2012, he came to Gabon», recalls Ali Bongo Ondimba

Pele and Ali Bongo Ondimba in October 2012 in Libreville © Twitter/ABO

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pele, died on Thursday at the Albert-Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, struck down by cancer at the age of 82. The three-time world champion will forever remain a legend of football and sport in general. All over the world, the tribute was unanimous.

« He was simply the greatest. He was the one who elevated football to an art form. Tonight, God has called King Pele to his side, » wrote Ali Bongo Ondimba on social networks.

A great football fan, the Gabonese president recalled that « in 2012, Pele came to Gabon. » The football legend had come to attend the African Cup of Nations.

« I will always remember the moments we spent together. His kindness, his humanity, » said Ali Bongo Ondimba before launching: « Rest in peace! »

But this was not the first time that Pele came to Gabon. His first visit was in 1967. On 31 May of that year, his club, FC Santos, played a match with the Gabonese national team. The match ended in a 0-4 victory for Santos. King Pele did not score any goals that day, but was content to perform on the pitch. But the spectators only had eyes for him.