ATLANTA — After arguably the greatest and most transcendent figure in the history of soccer died at 82 on Thursday, those in Atlanta remember Brazilian legend Pelé's impact on the city through the worldwide sport.
Pelé, labeled as "the greatest" by FIFA and once holding the title of Minister of Sports in Brazil, first came to the city of Atlanta in 1968 for a match against the Atlanta Chiefs.
At the time, Pelé played for Santos FC, a soccer club out of Sao Paulo, Brazil, that he signed with in 1956. In the match, Pelé scored three goals, and Santos beat the Atlanta soccer club by a final score of 6-2, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Pelé was seen as an important figure in the growth of American soccer, as he later played in the North American Soccer League.
Atlanta City Council member Michael Julian Bond released a statement on Pelé's death Thursday, calling the three-time World Cup champion "one of the greatest professional athletes of all time."
Bond explained how he had seen him on TV in the 1970s and even had the opportunity to meet him when he visited Atlanta. He explained that he was blown away by Pelé's "in person charisma, yet humble presence."
"He may only find peers in the likes of Muhammad Ali and our beloved Hank Aaron and his greatness in baseball, comparable to the world of soccer, or more properly ‘football,'" Bond said.
Bond said that despite his death, his legacy would continue to be felt, and his greatness will always remain worldwide.