Thousands of singing and dancing Brazil fans have been cheering for their team at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, but in their hearts they have been saying a silent prayer for their “king”, Pele.

When Brazil cruised past South Korea for a place in the quarter-finals, these fans had a simple request for the team: Win the World Cup for Pele.

Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has been battling colon cancer, and was hospitalised following a respiratory infection last week.

He was part of Brazil’s World Cup-winning teams in 1958, 1962 and 1970. Pele is the king for many fans

While many fans present in 2022 World Cup have grown up hearing tales of Pele’s greatness and watched old videos of his goal-scoring prowess, some were lucky enough to watch him play live.

Flamenco, a football fan from Colombia, saw Pele play in Mexico City when Brazil beat Italy in the final of the 1970 World Cup. “Pele will always be the best footballer ever,” he told

Before the team took to the pitch at Stadium 974, they were sent a motivational message by the legend himself.

In a message posted on his Instagram account on Monday, Pele told the Brazil team that he would be following the game from his hospital bed.

The 82-year-old icon urged Brazil to extend their record of World Cup trophies by winning another one in Qatar.