The footballing world has paid tribute to Pele following the death of the Brazil great at the age of 82.

The three-time World Cup winner died on Thursday having been in hospital in Sao Paulo since late November.

Following confirmation of his death, tributes poured in for the player widely regarded as the best to have graced the game.

Pele was a prodigious scorer of goals, and is credited with 1,281 of them across the length of his career by the official FIFA website.

A tweet from the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) read simply "King Pele", accompanied by three crown emojis.

Brazil's government declared three days of mourning.

"I had the privilege that younger Brazilians didn't have: I saw Pele play, live, at Pacaembu and Morumbi. Play, no. I saw Pele give a show," said Lula, the president-elect of Brazil. "Because when he got the ball he always did something special, which often ended up in a goal."

Sao Paulo's government said it would name a new road complex to the city of Santos, where Pele played club soccer, "Rei Pele" ('King Pele'). Rio's "Christ the Redeemer" statue was lit up in green and yellow in tribute.

Brazil forward Neymar – who moved level with Pele's record of 77 international goals during the 2022 World Cup – posted his own emotional tribute on Instagram.

"Before Pele, 10 was just a number. I’ve read this phrase somewhere, at some point in my life. But this sentence, beautiful, is incomplete. I would say before Pele football was just a sport. Pele has changed it all," Neymar said.

"He turned football into art, into entertainment He gave voice to the poor, to the blacks and especially: He gave visibility to Brazil. Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King! He’s gone but his magic remains. Pele is FOREVER!!"

The president of the federation, Ednaldo Rodrigues, said in a statement: "The CBF will pay all possible tributes to the greatest athlete of all time. Pele is eternal and we will always work to preserve his history and continue his legacy."

FIFA, world football's governing body, paid a lengthy tribute on their website to the Brazilian, entitled: "Pele: Immortal – forever with us."

Outlining Pele's various World Cup records and high points of his career, FIFA wrote: "They called him 'The King', and his face is one of the most recognisable in world football.

"The man in question is, of course, Pele, who was once named by FIFA as the greatest player of the 20th century."

FIFA President Gianni Infantino wrote in a lengthy tribute that Pele had "achieved immortality," recalling the top moments from his career, including the "Pele run-around" at the 1970 World Cup and his goal in the 1958 World Cup final at the age of only 17.

"The sight of him punching the air in celebration is one of the most iconic in our sport, and is etched into our history,"

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Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo posted a message on Instagram alongside a picture of him with the Brazil great expressing his "deepest condolences".

Ronaldo said: "A mere 'goodbye' to the eternal King Pele will never be enough to express the pain that currently embraces the entire world of football.

"An inspiration for so many millions, a reference from yesterday, today, forever. The affection he always showed for me was reciprocal in every moment we shared, even from a distance.

"He will never be forgotten and his memory will live on forever in each of us football lovers. Rest in peace, King Pele."

Argentina captain Lionel Messi simply wrote: "Rest in peace, @pele."

France forward Kylian Mbappe – who in 2018 joined Pele as the only teenagers to score in a World Cup final – wrote on Instagram: "The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING."

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Former England striker Geoff Hurst – who won the World Cup in 1966, scoring a hat-trick in the final – said on Twitter: "I have so many memories of Pele, without doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside).

"For me Pele remains the greatest of all time and I was proud to be on the pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you."

Hurst's England team-mate Bobby said: "Pele was a truly magical footballer and a wonderful human being.

"It was an honour to have shared a pitch with him and I send my sincerest condolences to his family, friends and the Brazilian people."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola expressed belief that Pele's influence in the world game will be everlasting.

"Football is football thanks to these types of people," he said.

"Neymar said a great sentence when he said before (Pele) number 10 was just a number and after it became something special.

"Every top player wanted to wear number 10 in their team. What he has done for football is there and always will remain.

"It's like a good movie, the legacy after many years. That we are still talking about him like a good movie or a good book is because he was so good.

"I think Pele, (Diego) Maradona, (Johan) Cruyff, (Lionel) Messi, (Franz) Beckenbauer, Cristiano Ronaldo - these type of players will be forever, they will be eternal.

"They have done many things in many years on the pitch and off it and with their teams and countries.

"These type of players make our business, our work, our job, however you want to say it, a better place because what he produced, what we have seen in the World Cup, what one team can produce can change 48 million people, the country. It's unbelievable."

President Michael D Higgins said that it was "particularly poignant that Pelé should have died so soon after the World Cup, that greatest stage which he graced like no other.

"His name will forever be synonymous with football itself, as perhaps the greatest player ever to play the game. In addition to his remarkable talent and record breaking goal scoring feats, the sheer joy with which he embraced the game will continue to inspire and bring people to the sport for generations to come.

"That was a spirit which he brought beyond the pitch and reflected in his life after retirement, where he lent support to many humanitarian causes.

"I had the pleasure of meeting Pelé on a number of occasions in the 1980s and 1990s and our last meeting was on a working visit to Mexico in 2013 in Guadalajara. In each of our meetings I was struck by that same sense of joy with which he graced the football pitch.

"May I express my sympathies to his wife Marcia Aoki, to his children, to his wider family and to all his many friends and admirers throughout the world."

The Football Association of Ireland said it was "deeply saddened to learn of the death of the great Pele, a man who left such a wonderful impression every time he visited Ireland.

Our condolences to our Brazilian friends here at home and to football fans across the world on this sad day for our game."

Pele lined out for Santos in a friendly against a combined Bohemians/Drumcondra XI in 1972.

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Pele attending a Republic of Ireland training session in 1979

Germany great Franz Beckenbauer played with Pele in the late 1970s in the United States at the end of their playing careers.

Beckenbauer, Bayern Munich's honorary president, wrote on the club’s website: "Today, football lost the greatest man in its history – and I lost a unique friend.

"Born in Tres Coracoes, Pele had three hearts: for football, for his family and for all people. Someone who played with the stars and always stayed down to earth.

"I went to the US in 1977 because I really wanted to play on a team with Pele at New York Cosmos. This time at his side was one of the greatest experiences of my career.

"We became champions together right away, and Pele then just called me his brother. It was an unimaginable honour for me. Football will always belong to you! You will always be here. Thank you for your game, O Rei!"

European football's governing body UEFA said in a statement on Twitter: "Tonight, we join fans the world over in mourning Pele, one of football’s all-time greatest players.

"He was the first global superstar of the game and played a pioneering role in football’s rise to become the world’s most popular sport. Rest in peace, Pele."

The Football Association announced Wembley’s arch would be lit up in Brazil colours in Pele’s memory.

There were also rounds of applause ahead of Thursday evening’s English Football League matches, which kicked off shortly after news broke of Pele’s death.