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Pele, Ronaldo, more remember Nelson Mandela; Premier League to honor him during matches

Nelson Mandela

FILE - In this May 15, 2004 file photo, former South African President Nelson Mandela lifts the World Cup trophy in Zurich, Switzerland, after FIFA’s executive committee announced that South Africa would host the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. Mandela was pivotal in helping the country win the right to host the tournament. South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, that Mandela has died. He was 95. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)


The late Nelson Mandela, who passed away Thursday at age 95, will be honored at all nine Premier League matches on Saturday with a minute of applause.

The applause for Mandela, a fan of the sport who was instrumental in bringing the World Cup to South Africa, will also be heard at Championship and FA Cup second-round matches.

Players around the Premier League and abroad reacted to Mandela’s passing, including South African star Steven Pienaar:

Still can’t believe it MADIBA is gone

— Steven Pienaar (@therealstevenpi) December 5, 2013

Today, I am very saddened. Nelson Mandela was one of the most influential people in my life.

— Pelé (@Pele) December 5, 2013

He was my hero, my friend, and also a companion to me in our fight for the people and for world peace.

— Pelé (@Pele) December 5, 2013

Let us all continue his legacy with purpose and passion.

— Pelé (@Pele) December 5, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela. What a strong and courageous man! Forever in our hearts!

— Dean Furman (@de4no22) December 5, 2013

Rest in Peace Tata. You will be missed but never forgotten. My tribute letter to you #Madiba

— Lucas Radebe (@LucasRadebe) December 6, 2013

The U.S. Soccer family mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela, one of the most inspirational leaders of our time.

— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 6, 2013

An inspiration to all of us. RIP Nelson Mandela. Thank you for everything you have done!

— Robin van Persie (@Persie_Official) December 6, 2013

Thankful Madiba for your legacy and your example. You"ll always stay with us.

— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 5, 2013

Deepest respect to a man who fought and wrote world history defending his people and his legacy that it will last for centuries. Thx Madiba

— Radamel Falcao (@FALCAO) December 5, 2013

Follow @nicholasmendola