Pele laments 'overwhelming' sadness of Ali death

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Brazilian soccer great Pele has paid tribute to Muhammad Ali after the boxing icon's passing aged 74.

Arguably the two greatest sportsmen of all time, Pele and Ali dominated the sporting landscape throught the 1960s and 70s, while their legends remain intact.

Pele said of Ali last year: "He was a completely different character - more fun, making jokes all the time. We used to get together for dinner and he would tease me, saying he was more famous than me."

It was confirmed that three-time world heavyweight champion Ali had passed away on Friday, having battled Parkinson's disease for 32 years.

In response, Pele posted a moving tribute on Instagram, sharing an iconic meeting between the pair when the former striker played in the United States with the New York Cosmos.

 

The sporting universe has just suffered a big loss. Muhammad Ali was my friend, my idol, my hero. We spent many moments together and always kept a good connection throughout the years. The sadness is overwhelming. I wish him peace with God. And I send love and strength to his family. // O universo do esporte sofre uma grande perda. Muhammad Ali era meu amigo, meu idolo, meu heroi. Passamos muitos momentos juntos e sempre mantivemos contatos todos esses anos. A tristeza é enorme. Desejo que ele descanse junto a Deus e amor e força à sua familia.

A photo posted by Pelé (@pele) on

"The sporting universe has just suffered a big loss," he said. "Muhammad Ali was my friend, my idol, my hero.

"We spent many moments together and always kept a good connection throughout the years. The sadness is overwhelming.

"I wish him peace with God. And I send love and strength to his family."