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Quest Means Business

International Football Legend, Pele, Dies At 82; ECDC Calls COVID Tests For China Arrivals Unjustified; World Reacts To China's Spreading COVID-19 Cases; Russia Launches "Massive" Missile Attack On Ukraine. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired December 29, 2022 - 15:00:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Good evening, I'm Paula Newton from the CNN Center and we begin with breaking news.

The legendary Brazilian footballer, Pele, dead at the age of 82. His daughter released a statement on Instagram saying: "Everything that we are

is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace."

Now a medical report says Pele died due to multiple organ failure resulting from colon cancer. He had been battling that cancer for several months.

Pele, though, really in terms of his legacy, quite simply changed the nature of football itself and is considered the original all-time great.

That is the original GOAT, being the only men's player in history to win the World Cup three times.

Don Riddell looks back at the life of this legend.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT HOST (voice over): When the world knows you by just one name, you have truly succeeded. Pele is regarded by many as the

greatest footballer of all time, his humble demeanor and generous spirit have guaranteed his legacy as a global icon.

PELE, FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER: This is a big responsibility, you know? I feel very comfortable because something I cannot answer why God gave me

this, you know, this gift.

This was a gift from God. Then I tried to be my best, I had to respect people. I tried to prepare myself, I try to be always in good shape. You

know, the most important, respect for people.

RIDDELL (voice over): Raised in the slums of Sao Paulo in the 1940s, Edson Arantes do Nascimento discovered football at a young age. He made his debut

for Santos at the age of just 16 and within a year, he was scoring goals for the Brazilian National Team.

By this time, he was better known by his nickname, Pele, and in 1958, at 17, he became the youngest man to play in a World Cup Final, scoring twice

as Brazil beat Sweden. It was the first of three World Titles he'd help win for his country.

He electrified audiences with his fancy footwork and ability to score seemingly impossible goals. So it was something of a disappointment that

his 1,000th goal was a penalty.

PELE: A friend of mine. He is a comic guy in Brazil. He said, listen, God stopped the game because everyone has to see your 1,000th goal. That's the

reason it was the penalty kick.

RIDDELL (voice over): After his goal, the game against Vasco da Gama was stopped for several minutes to celebrate his landmark achievement.

In 1967, when Pele learned that he and his team had the power to stop other things, too, and their visit to Nigeria prompted warring factions to call a

48-hour ceasefire in the country's Civil War.

PELE: We stopped a war, because the people were so crazy for football, they love football. They stopped the war to see Santos play in Africa. This is

fantastic. It is something we cannot explain.

RIDDELL (voice over): By the time Pele retired as a footballer in 1977, playing his final years for the Cosmos in New York, he had amassed a career

total of 1,281 goals. For Pele, that was half a lifetime ago. But his infectious love of the game ensured that he remained relevant.

He served as a UN Ambassador for Ecology and the Environment. He rubbed shoulders with State Leaders all over the world, and he received an

Honorary Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth in 1997.

Who could forget his appearance in the cult movie "Escape to Victory."


CORPORAL LUIS FERNANDEZ, FICTIONAL CHARACTER: To go, you have to give me ball here, I do this, this, this, this, this, this, this, goal.




RIDDELL (voice over): When he starred alongside Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone playing a prisoner of war who scored a spectacular morale boosting

goal in a game against the Germans.

PELE: First of all, it is a gift from God. Second, I think it was a lot of work -- the work and training, and I have to say, thanks to God, because my

father was a football player, he was a center for and then my father was very perfectionistic, then, everything who I used to do, I try to do, he

used to say, "Listen, I know you must do better than that."

RIDDELL (voice over): He has always been a global icon, but in his native Brazil, he will always be regarded as a National Treasure. His passing is

cause for national mourning, and as he has done humorously put it himself, there will never be another Pele.

PELE: To be the new Pele of the world, because my mother and my father, they close the machine.


NEWTON: What a smile and our thanks to Don Riddell there.

I'm now joined by Patrick Snell, from CNN World Sport. And really, as you've pointed out to us in the last hour, Patrick, this is sad, but it is

also a celebration.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Absolutely, absolutely. He was such an impactful person on and off the field of play. Look, we've just seen

Lionel Messi win his first World Cup, right, in Qatar at the age of 35. Just imagine, Paula, being a 17-year-old, a 17-year-old play in your first

ever World Cup.

It was the 1958 tournament in Sweden. What does the great Pele go and do, already staying great at the age of 17, a hattrick in the semifinal, then

he gets two in the final in 1958.

He went in again with the great Brazilian team in 1962. They missed out on England 1966 tournament where they actually surprisingly were eliminated

from the group stages before coming back with a flurry of brilliance in that great Brazilian team, 1970, winning a third World Cup title in Mexico

beating the Italians on that occasion.

I just want to spell it out. This is a person that transcends the sport in general, not just an iconic football legend, the only person ever to win

three World Cups, over 1,200 career goals until recently, his country's all-time leading goal scorer with 77 for Brazil tied, as I say at this most

recent World Cup by Neymar.

But he embodied the beautiful game. He used those words a lot in his native Portuguese language, "the beautiful game." It was the flair, it was the joy

of seeing him play, those iconic yellow jerseys or shirts if you prefer for the Brazilian National Team, the joy of football.

As I say, Pele would always emphasize those words, "the beautiful game." Take into context though, Paula, his very humble roots. The poverty in

which he initially grew up, the fact that there were no boots that he and his youth team players could actually call upon to wear during games.

There were boots when there weren't any. They were used as goalposts. The footballs they had where just basically socks molded and tied together into

a football.

It is an incredible life story. I met him one time. I had that great pleasure. He was so humble. He was so generous with his time I remember

being a little nervous as I approached him for interview, but he kind of metaphorically wrapped his shoulder around me. It was a fantastic chat and

I will never forget that moment.

Humble, generous to a fault, generous with his time. He cared. He cared about breaking the poverty cycle. He wanted to help children with hunger

and disease after his career. Those partnerships with FIFA and UNICEF, appointed a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador as well.

It is no surprise that on this day, as we learn of his passing, the tributes have been pouring in. I want to get to Pele's tweet from his

official Twitter account this tweet a short while ago from Pele's official Twitter account as we translate: "Inspiration and love marked the journey

of King Pele who passed peacefully away today. Love, love, and love forever." Such powerful words that will resonate globally, you can be sure.

And his daughter a short while ago on this day Kelly Nascimento who has been front and center over the last few days over the Christmas period as

well, giving us updates from that Sao Paulo Hospital, coupled with that very powerful image there of Pele's family, the clasping of the hands

there, "Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace."

And this tribute now, Pele was so generous with his time, lavishing praise on fellow players, Kylian Mbappe and these two formed a really special

relationship over the last few months actually in the buildup and leading to Pele's passing.


Kylian Mbappe with this tribute: "The King of Football has left us, but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP, King. Rest in peace, King." A very

emotional day as we established earlier, Paula, but also a cause for celebration, and so much to reflect on, so much as well to be grateful for

as well.

NEWTON: Yes, and I'm glad that you've put a fine point on it, right? Grateful. So many people in Brazil and beyond. So grateful for his


Patrick Snell, we will continue to check in with you.

Now Brazil long ago declared Pele a National Treasure. I don't have to remind anyone, but he really belong to the world, right, to every football

fan everywhere.

Pele played for Brazil in four World Cups as we were saying and is the only player to actually win three. After a two-decade long professional career

that included more than 1,200 goals, he went on to be an International Ambassador not just for sport, but for what could be achieved by such

humble roots and they were humble playing barefoot as a child, kicking socks and rags rolled into a ball.

But he became one of the most celebrated sports figures of our time, the undisputed king of what he called, he himself called the beautiful game.

Now, one cannot overstate of course Pele's achievements nor his influence on the course of the popularity of the sport. Journalist, Stefano Pozzebon

joins us now, significantly from Colombia on the South American continent, and so much reaction really now pouring in for Pele.

And I know Stefano that you have had experiences like I have had experiences where you see children just come up on a random pitch. It's not

even a pitch, they're playing in dirt. And you know that so many of them have the dream of Pele in their minds as they are kicking around any ball

that could find.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, definitely. I mean, it is one of these icons that really spoke her to millions of people across decades because

his career started in the 1950s. And still, he has remained relevant and an icon to this day, frankly. So really, for over 70 years.

Another thought that I had just looking at these reactions that are pouring in about Pele is that he -- we often consider Europe as the capital of

football, and the most talented players from South America normally go to play for rich European clubs, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Maradona played for

Naples and Barcelona, Pele never did that.

Pele went to New York to Cosmos to play in in the 1970s because he probably realized that it was time to open the frontiers of football, to bring the

United States into the bigger football family all around the world.

He truly was an Ambassador and an icon and one that really transcended the sport or transcended the football pitch.

He served as Sports Minister, for example, in the 1990s with Fernando Henrique Cardoso in the first government of Democratic Brazil. So you can

see a person that really was at the center, at the heart of the Brazilian nation, and there will be more and truly as a god, as an icon, as a true

symbol of the 20th Century -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, of the 20th Century and what Brazil could become in the 21st Century.

I want to ask you, Stefano, these are tumultuous times in Brazil right now. We have a changing of the government in just the next few days, just

describe to us how really, perhaps delicate this dance will be as Lula da Silva comes back into office and as so many in that country have this

outpouring of grief and celebration, I would add for Pele's passing.

POZZEBON: Yes, yes, definitely. It's a moment for a nation to truly come together. We will look at the World Cup as a moment where Brazil and the

Brazilian National Football Team could help unite the country at the moment where polarization, it's really at -- it has really reached the top levels

in Brazil with a competition between Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who is due to become the next President on a Sunday and the current President, Jair


That moment didn't come as Brazil was kicked out of the Qatar 2022 Football World Cup, but that moment will definitely come with the mourning of Pele.

Truly, you will see that the entire nation will be glued to the TV screen and to the radio and try to be as participative as possible to the mourning

and to the funeral which we understand will take place at the home ground of his old club, Santos FC, a few kilometers southeast of Sao Paulo, the

biggest city in Brazil.


It will truly be a moment where Brazil can come together and perhaps unite in this moment of mourning, in this moment of reflection, and to begin a

new course, a new deal with the upcoming Presidency of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, just on Sunday.

Truly, history has played as a trick right now with the passing of such an icon at such a tumultuous time for the greatest nation of South America --


NEWTON: Absolutely, and we certainly hope that Brazil will rise to the occasion as they have in the past, obviously, with even hosting the World

Cup in years past.

Stefano Pozzebon for us there in Bogota, Colombia. We will continue to follow reaction from the continent.

Now we want to go now to Sao Paulo. These are live pictures outside the hospital where Pele died, where people are gathering. I want to say that in

a statement, the hospital did say that he died of multiple organ failure. Again, the cause, colon cancer. He had been sick for well over a year and

had surgery.

His family, you know, right to the end, hoping that he would make it through, be able to emerge from that hospital or at least have more time at

home with his family, but it was not to be.

We continued to get updates from that hospital right there from his family as they showed pictures from his bedside. Again, that is in Sao Paulo,

where Pele died in that hospital at the age of 82 from colon cancer, and we will continue to keep an eye on that for you as global reaction to Pele's

death pours in, right.

The government of Brazil has now tweeted that Pele was called to the Lord's team, declaring him of course, a Brazilian hero.

The Brazilian Football Confederation simply tweeted, "King Pele" with a black and white image of the legend. Eternal, they say.

Chelsea FC wrote that Pele was master of the beautiful game. And you know, really, they are too numerous to count the tributes that are coming in.

There are some of course off the pitch. Olympic sprinting legend, Usain Bolt, posted an image of the two together right there.

And as I said, we continue to have so many more tributes that are pouring in right now.

Ian Stafford is the owner and founder of sporting club. He joins me now from London, and we're glad to have you with us and give us your thoughts.

You know, we just had the reaction from South America. You know, Pele, what did he mean to Europe in terms of seeing a talent like that, who had had

such powerful abilities and such longevity in the game?

IAN STAFFORD, OWNER AND FOUNDER, SPORTING CLUB: Well, to sort of continue what others have been saying, but maybe even sort of take it to another

level. I would say that probably Pele was the second greatest sports person in the history of sport. Muhammad Ali might just pip him, but he is

undoubtedly the -- and by some distance as well.

There have been huge debates about especially Leo Messi in recent times, but as your previous correspondents have said, nobody else has won three

World Cups, and by the way, played a massive part in two of those three World Cups, a standout player at the beginning and at the end of his


Jesse Owens, in retrospect, was probably the first great Black superstar, but people didn't know that then because we didn't have the power of TV. So

Pele is recognized as the first real Black superstar sports person who is the first rock star of football.

And of course, in Pele, if you've seen the Pele documentary, for example, he had no life. He could go nowhere. He was a demigod.

And when he came over to Europe, you know everything about him, his charisma, his panache, the name, you know, you've got to be a great man or

woman if you're known by a single name as he was. And he came over to Europe in 1958 for the World Cup in Sweden, and there weren't that many

Black Brazilians playing any sort of trade in Europe in the late 1950s.

He was 17 years old. They knew in Brazil, he was good, good enough to make the World Cup squad. He wasn't even going to be picked for the first team,

and so his colleagues basically staged a mutiny and said if you don't pick Pele, we're not playing.

So against the coach's own will, they played Pele, as one of your colleagues said, he scored a hattrick in the World Cup semifinal, and then

two goals, one of them an absolute wonder goal in the final, and he was 17 years old.

And from that point onwards, he was regarded to be the greatest footballer in the world at that time and that's when he introduced himself to European

football and world football and from that point onwards, he was considered to be the greatest and again as has been pointed out, wherever he went,

people stopped whatever they were doing.


In the case of Nigeria, they stopped the Civil War in order to watch this guy play. Don't forget, he played for not one of the big teams in Brazil,

he played for lowly Santos, you know, and stuck with them, and playing for a lesser team than the great South American teams of Sao Paulo and Rio, and

yet, he scored over 1,200 goals.

So, there is no doubt about it. He was the GOAT. He is the GOAT. And it's very hard to see anybody ever taking over.

NEWTON: Yes, and you now understand, you've put into context for us why Santos is so important to him and he is so important to Santos. His wake

will be held there, the Football Club has already announced that.

I want to ask you though, about you know, still today, even if people didn't, you know, see Pele, even if they're in another sport, his ability

to transcend not just his sport, but people's lives, whether or not they could accomplish great things, despite coming from poverty, and despite

what is still really blatant racism all over the world.

What did it mean to athletes trying to aspire to that level?

STAFFORD: Well, as again, was pointed out, he used socks as footballs, he had no boots. He was brought up in a real -- one of the real slums of

southern Sao Paulo. He had nothing except one thing, God given if you believe in that, talent to play football, and of course in Brazil, and one

of the great things about football is, you know, you know, some of the greatest things in life, don't cost money.

Copacabana Beach where they played football, where they honed their skills, so much because of the sand and the unforgiving terrain, the sea, the sun,

the nice weather, that's for free. And that's what Pele had and that is all that Pele had, but he had this talent that was way above anybody else in

his era.

And so if you have that talent, and you have the belief, because behind the talent, you also had a strong determination, which shone through not just

at the beginning, but throughout his life when he had political pressure, he had pressures from so many different strands.

He was just a footballer, and he tried so hard. Don't forget, there was a revolution in Brazil. There was a coup d'etat, there was a takeover by the

army, and the democracy of Brazil was shattered.

And he was called upon to support this faction and that faction. And of course, all he wanted to do was play football. So you know what, when you

look at the lack of facilities that he had, when people make comparisons, it's always one of those great public debates, you know, who was the

greatest Formula One driver, the greatest golfer, the greatest boxer. When it comes to football, just imagine what that man could have done with

today's technology, today's boots, today's diets, and nutrition, today's physical education.

Just imagine what that man could have done even without all of that, he still achieved what he achieved.

NEWTON: Yes, so many have remarked that his talent was pure. Ian Stafford for us, thank you so much, really appreciate it.

Ahead for us, we will have more on the passing of Pele, but also division in Europe over how to respond to the surge in COVID cases in China, and the

relaxation of border controls.

Stay with us.



NEWTON: EU nations appear divided about whether people coming from China need to be tested for COVID. Now Italy has been urging its neighbors to do

so, but the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said today, the move is in fact not justified. The Italian Prime Minister called

earlier for a coordinated response. She noted that nearly half -- think of that -- half of the passengers on a flight this week from China to Milan

tested positive for COVID.


GIORGIA MELONI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This measure risks not being completely effective if it's not taken at the European

level, because we know that we can do it for flights arriving directly from China, but not for example from those arriving via stopovers.

So I asked Health Minister Schillaci who immediately acted in this sense to write to the European Commissioner responsible for this matter, and asked

the European Union to take measures in this sense.


NEWTON: Barbie Nadeau has been following this disagreement, shall we call it from Rome, and it seems that EU is pretty firm, they're not going to do

this no matter what Italy says.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, but you know, if you think back two years ago, almost to the day, you know, the same discussion was going on

Italy was one of the first countries hit hard by this pandemic and they were restricting flights back then, and the European Union was against it

at that time, too.

Now, things have changed a lot, vaccinations and we've learned a lot since then. But I think Italy is especially stunned when it comes to this crisis,

because they're seeing these flights coming in, they're doing the checks. They are finding 50 percent of the people on a flight test positive for


You know, they're testing every single flight, and they're finding lots and lots of cases of COVID. And Italy has been through this before, they want

to make sure that nothing bad happens again. They're particularly worried about the fact that people in China, the Chinese nationals, haven't been

vaccinated with a vaccine that is as effective as those vaccines here in Europe and in North America, and that could lead to the emergence of a new

variant and that's what concerns people here.

That is why Italy is being especially vigilant, but it could be said that they're being vigilant because of how things went the first time around --


NEWTON: Yes, no doubt, they are saying that they want to be different this time in terms of the implications.

Barbie Nadeau, thanks so much for following the story for us and we will remind you that other places other than Italy have in fact announced new

COVID testing for travelers from China and they include Japan and Taiwan and the US will also introduce tests from January 5th as we reported this


Now the lack of consensus that we were just hearing about in Europe echoes in fact, as Barbie was saying right, the early days of the pandemic. A

recent scathing report in "The Lancet" criticize what it called the lack of coordination among countries regarding suppression strategies.

Dr. Carlos Del Rio is Executive Associate Dean at Emory University School of Medicine and joins us now.

Doctor, so good to see you again for your expertise. And I will remind you, you and I sat here discussing this nearly three years ago, and what the

mitigation -- you know, what the mitigation programs should be in place across borders.

Now that you see the situation in China, what do you think should be done?


acknowledge how complicated controlling this pandemic has been, and how this virus has changed and policies between what -- you know, during

pandemic, virus change, but also humans behave unexpectedly.

And what we've seen in China is go from Zero-COVID Policy to Zero Restrictions Policy, and this rapid shift dramatically changes what can

happen in the pandemic.

China is currently having a huge increase in the number of cases. They are probably going to peak very, very early. I've seen different models that

suggest peak in the number of cases will occur somewhere between February and March.

We are seeing very, very high numbers and not only that flight, but I've talked to several people who have big operations in China, and as many as

50 were saying their employees are currently out with COVID at the moment.



DEL RIO: -- will occur in February or March. We are seeing very, very high numbers.

I spoke to several people who have big operations in China. They say 50 percent of their employees are out with COVID at the moment. So this will

be a huge increase of infections and then it will die down because it will simply burn out.

What is going to happen when this comes out of China, is a question that everybody has. Because two things can happen. It will start a new wave of

globally, very much like we had with Omicron.

And this could be with a new variant, right?

I think we need to be very vigilant. The lack of the global coordinated response, the lack of transparency from China are two major challenges this

time around.

NEWTON: How do you deal with those challenges, Doctor?

Especially as you say, given the experience we already had with COVID-19, is it the sequencing that will help?

Is the testing that will help?

What do we do, especially given the concern about new variants?

DEL RIO: Well, number one, testing; number two, sequencing. And third is global diplomacy. We need to be talking to China at a high level, at a

diplomatic level, we need the president to be talking to the prime minister. We need the WHO to be I constant communication with China to

increase the transparency, to increase the testing of the sequencing of their (INAUDIBLE).

China is only sequencing about 22 percent of their (INAUDIBLE). They need to sequence about (INAUDIBLE) to give us an idea of what new variants are

emerging. And then we need to do testing.

I think testing is going to be done, what the U.S. is proposing to do right now, I think it's just as viable but I think it's not sufficient. I think

we need to do testing also as Chinese people are landing here into the U.S.

Otherwise, we will be missing cases coming in. And the measure will only be temporary. We know from the past few cases, they are going to come here and

then we will see new infections.

The reality is, if we increase the level of immunity and global immunity with a natural infection and vaccinations, it will significantly increase

in Europe and the U.S., we may not see as much of an impact from those cases.

NEWTON: That is good news to hear there.

And when you talk about perhaps the infections, this wave peaking in China between February and March, does that still mean that a lot of vigilance

for at least the next three months, if not beyond?

DEL RIO: Yes, I think. So. I think the next three months are going to define what happens for the pandemic in 2023.

NEWTON: OK, all right, Dr. del Rio, happy holidays, happy new year. Yes, three years on, you and I are still discussing this. We appreciate your


DEL RIO: Happy to be with you. Happy New Year, Paula.

NEWTON: Still to come for us, we talk to a football expert who reflects on, of course, that amazing career, the amazing life of Pele.





NEWTON: Breaking news this hour: the legendary Brazilian footballer Pele has died at the age of 82. Now Pele won three World Cups and became the

sport's first global icon.

His daughter released a statement on Instagram, saying, quote, "Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely, rest in peace."

Medical reports said Pele die due to multiple organ failure and that was, of course, resulting from colon cancer that he had been battling for

months. He had been hospitalized since November.





NEWTON: Now coming up for us, Ukrainians are showing determination and resilience even as Russian missiles are causing massive damage and

threatening their lives. We will have that, next.





NEWTON: Ukraine's military says it's successfully intercepted the majority, in fact, of the missiles Russia fired Thursday in what Ukraine calls one of

the largest attacks since the start of the war.

Now Russia aimed dozens of missiles at energy infrastructure and civilian targets right across the country. The ones that landed destroyed homes and

knocked out power in several regions. At least three people were killed and seven were wounded.

Ukraine's defense ministry says, Moscow, quote, "dreams Ukrainians will celebrate the new year in darkness and cold." Ben Wedeman joins me now from


And I know you've seen firsthand the effects of some of these strikes overnight. And yet, the danger again, right Ben?

In the hours to come, you know, given how many incoming strikes Ukraine claims to have thwarted, what does that say to you about the battle ahead

here and their efficiency in being able to, you know, thwart that Russian threat?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly they did do relatively well, given that, according to the figures put out by the

Ukrainian military, 69 missiles were fired at Ukraine; 54 were shot down, in addition to 11 drones.

But there is always the possibility that, you know, the Ukrainian air defenses can be overwhelmed. And there are some reports that some of those

early strikes did disable some of the air defenses.

But certainly, 10 months into this war, the outcome is radically different from what President Putin perhaps was dreaming about. The Russians have

lost large parts of the territory they controlled in the early months.

And in some areas, they are still losing ground to the Ukrainians. But what we saw today was that, despite those intercepts, the missiles did hit

targets, energy infrastructure, in the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city.

And in fact, I think behind me, normally the horizon, there are lights out there. There is still some parts of the capital that are without


So, yes, the Ukrainians were able to stop many of the missiles from coming through but the Russians can still inflict pain, not just in this form of

casualties but also in knocking out some of this country's ability to produce heat and electricity, two things critical in a country that, where

sub-zero winter temperatures are a daily reality. Paula.

NEWTON: Incredibly menacing, especially as the all-important U.S. New Year's holiday comes, that Ukrainians look determined to celebrate that, no

matter the circumstances. Ben Wedeman, we appreciate you.

We want to return to the top story, we shared with you some of the tributes to Pele from governments, football leagues and sports stars. But he meant

the most, I will tell you, to ordinary Brazilians.

These are, right now, live pictures outside the hospital where Pele died, people keeping vigil there as this family's sent the news that he had died,

unfortunately, from colon cancer.

We do see people gathering. That's a testament to his stature in Brazil, which goes much further than his three World Cup victories.

CNN producer Julia Jones is outside the Albert Einstein hospital. You see the pictures there in Sao Paulo, she joins me now on the line.

Julia, as a Brazilian, I want to say to you my condolences. I know how so many people, how held Pele in their heart.

What does this moment mean for the country that has gone through so many tumultuous times the last few years?

JULIA JONES, CNN PRODUCER: Thank, you Paula, for the condolences. You are right. He means so much for the country, not just as a player but as a

person. He embodied Brazil, he was the one icon, you could go anywhere in the world and say I had my experience from Brazil, the first thing people

say is Pele. That name is so recognizable.

Here in Brazil, here in Sao Paulo, I spoke fans at the football club draped with the flag with the black and white stripes, the team that he played for

so many, years.


He told me he meant more to the Brazilian people than any president ever could or any other cultural figure because of how he united the country.

Losing Pele is losing the heart of the country, especially after the tragic World Cup loss, that result.

Let me say, that's just the beginning, I'm walking into a crowd of media, people are reporting in Spanish, German, French. The entire world is going

to feel the loss of this icon.

And is that not what happened in Argentina?

That kind of moving emotion that soccer, football can cause people. You can just imagine the sorrow that will come over the next few days and weeks for

the Sao Paulo and Brazilians more.

NEWTON: Julia, we don't have a lot of time left, this is troubled times in Brazil. We have a transition of government in the next few days.

How difficult and delicate will the dance be over the next few days?

JONES: I think, Paula, if anything, it will be a moment for Brazil to come together. We cannot argue that this is a huge loss for the country. This is

a moment where Brazilians, even if in sorrow, will have a moment to remember what Brazil can be, to be reminded of the greatness that this can


NEWTON: OK, Julia Jones, outside the Albert Einstein hospital, as you see, there in Sao Paulo, we will continue to bring more reports from her in Sao

Paulo and also as tributes continue to pour in for Pele. We will be right back in a moment with more.




NEWTON: And we want to end our show now the way it began, with the sad news of the death of Pele but also to celebrate his extraordinary life.

The Brazilian football star, winner of three World Cups, a national treasure by any measure, in his home country, he's passed away at the age

of 82, after a battle with colon cancer.

Now there is a story about Pele that, when he met U.S. President Ronald Reagan, at the White House, the president reached out his hand and

introduced himself. Then he told Pele, "No need to introduce yourself. Everyone knows who you are."

Now the man could move world affairs and that is not an exaggeration.