Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday expressed his "deep condolences" on the death of football legend Pele, calling him "an outstanding son" of Brazil.

"Edson Arantes do Nascimento was an outstanding son of the Brazilian people," Putin said in a telegram to Brazil's outgoing leader, Jair Bolsonaro, the Kremlin said.

"Thanks to his talent, unique skill, and a beautiful and fascinating game, football has become a favourite sport for millions of people around the world, including Russia," Putin said.

"I was lucky to personally speak with this wonderful person, and I will forever keep the brightest memories of him," Putin added.

Pele, the three-time World Cup winner widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, died on Thursday in Sao Paulo after a long battle with cancer. He was 82.