A three-time World Cup winner, Pele was a global icon during his playing time, and visited many countries to play exhibition matches, including India.
The icon visited India on three occasions - in 1977. 2015 and 2018. He had a great sense of gratitude towards Indians for the love that was showered upon him, as he claimed that his nickname 'boy with three hearts' is for the three times he came to this part of the world.
Bhaichung Bhutia had the opportunity to meet Pele. Speaking exclusively to The Quint, the three-time SAFF Championship winner reminisced the moments he spent with the legendary footballer.
"I met Pele twice, and had the great privilege of interviewing him at a summit held in Delhi. He was the greatest footballer in the world," said the 46-year-old.
"We grew up hearing only Pele's name. Any good player from my childhood days was called Pele. He was also a very humble person, a true gentleman. I remember he gifted me a signed Brazil jersey that I will always cherish" Bhutia added.
Meanwhile, he also paid his tributes on Twitter. Posting a picture with Pele, Bhutia wrote "Goodbye Legend! You and your game will be missed always. Heartfelt condolences to family, friends and fans."