BRAZIL legend Pele was honoured during a ‘Game of Stars’ between Samba icons at the Maracana Stadium.
Organised by former Brazil star Zico, the charity match featured numerous aces from the South American country.
Pele was honoured at a charity match in Brazil yesterdayCredit: AP
The Samba star is currently in hospital after his cancer advancedCredit: Getty
The ‘Game of Stars’ was organised by Brazil icon ZicoCredit: Alamy
The 69-year-old delighted fans in a packed-out MaracanaCredit: Alamy
Ex-Chelsea and Arsenal defender David Luiz captained a team featuring Zico, the 69-year-old’s grandson and several Flamengo teammates.
And there was also a cameo from 16-year-old wonderkid Endrick, who will join Real Madrid from Palmeiras for £60million in 2024.
But the only man on their minds at yesterday’s game was none other than national great Pele.
The 82-year-old’s cancer sadly advanced this month.
And he is now surrounded by loved ones after being moved to “elevated care” at a Sao Paulo hospital.
Pele, a three-time World Cup winner, is considered by many to be the beautiful game’s greatest player.
The famous forward scored close to 2,000 goals throughout his playing career.
And he helped influence generations of talent, including Ronaldo Nazario, Ronaldinho and Neymar.
David Luiz captained a side featuring Zico and other Brazil iconsCredit: AP
Zico got to play on the pitch alongside his grandsonCredit: AP
Supporters paid tribute to Pele from the standsCredit: AP
The game was aimed at raising money for those in povertyCredit: Alamy
Former and current football stars came together at the Maracana to pay tribute to Pele yesterday, with respected ex-internationals like Ze Roberto and Lucio also present.
The players all wore white shirts bearing the phrase “Eternal Pele” on the chest.
And Zico hailed the icon’s legacy in a heartfelt message, saying: “I learned a lot from him when I was a kid.
“It’s a source of pride to be in a country that has the best player of all time. He was always an inspiration to all of us.”
Players wore a shirt paying homage to PeleCredit: AP
Wonderkid Endrick was among those who shined on the fieldCredit: EPA
The 16-year-old is joining Real Madrid for £60million in 2024Credit: EPA
Zico and Luiz posed for pictures in the dressing room afterwardsCredit: Instagram / @jdezico
Luiz declared: “It is a sad and distressing moment. Pele represents all of us who have lived the passion for football since childhood.
“May God be with him, he deserves the best.”
Former Juventus and Atletico Madrid midfielder Diego added: “I started my career in Santos.
“Having a photo with him was one of the great emotions I had in my life. He inspires us, not only in the world of soccer, but also in the world of sports.
“We are in prayer for his health.”
The Maracana was buzzing as those participating hailed PeleCredit: AP
Zico was mobbed after the match but was only too happy to obligeCredit: Instagram / @jdezico
Friends and family came out for the special occasionCredit: Instagram / @jdezico