Pele: the king who truly ruled the worldArnaz M. Khairul
There are few, if any at all, whose passing evoked as many tears and tributes as when the world learned of the passing of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known to all as the great Pele.
As Brazil undergoes three days of national mourning, tributes continue to pour across all media as the world reminisces the life of the first and biggest global superstar in sport, who died at a Sao Paolo hospital early this morning at 81 after a battle with cancer.
For those of us lucky enough to have lived to watch him captivate the planet by turning his sport into an art and in his nation of Brazil, above politics and religion, it is reason enough to be grateful.
For us, he was this majestic image of a superhuman, a larger than life figure, who for billions of football fans represented humanity itself. He was simply the best specimen of a human being alive.
I wasn't fortunate enough to be alive when Pele first cast his spell on football, as a 17-year old magician who almost single-handedly gave Brazil the 1958 World Cup, going on to win the 1962 and 1970 World Cups to finish as the only player to date with three World Cup winners' medals.
Pele retired when I was four and I used to be reminded by my father that "Pele" was the first name of a footballer I uttered, as any show that featured in our two television channels back then was never missed.
Growing up, among the major arguments with my father were about why the whole world was saying Pele was the best, while my father's pick was always George Best.
That argument ended one day when, be it out of humility or his own belief, Pele himself called Bestie the best footballer ever. Which was also the only time I didn't believe Pele, despite also idolising the Manchester United legend.
Truly, there wasn't anyone who came close to Pele, not just as a footballer but as an icon for humanity, for which he was a Unicef ambassador.
There's even what is known as the "Pele Law" to curb corruption in Brazilian football, which he introduced during his tenure as Sports Minister between 1995 and 1998.
The appointment drew criticism from then Fifa president and fellow-Brazilian Joao Havelange, who called out Pele for tarnishing his legacy by accepting the political appointment.
Then Brazilian president Fernando Enrique Cardoso abolished the Sports Minister post after Pele was done with it in 1998.
He was a larger than life figure in many respects, standing above politics, revered in divine measure by those of all religions and those with faith in none.
Proof of this came in 2010, when almost by coincidence reports surfaced of then president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva's house, then occupied by his daughter was robbed, while witnesses told press they saw an apparent car-jacking being aborted after the criminals discovered Pele behind the wheel of the vehicle. Even thieves couldn't bring themselves to rob him.
On the pitch, every skill he mastered and mesmeriseed the world with has been copied and repeated by everyone from Johan Cruyff to Diego Maradona, to Romario, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Search and wait as we may for a half-decent successor, simply none will ever come close to Pele. The Greatest of All Time or GOAT, usually known as The King, who no royal will ever match.