Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, on Tuesday, bid the final farewell to Brazilian football legend Pele, before the state funeral. Thousands of fans and football dignitaries, led by Swiss FIFA President Gianni Infantino, attended to take a last look at Pele’s coffin in the same stadium where he stunned the world in his early days with his club, Santos.
Brazil and its President, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, greet for the last time, after declaring three days of official mourning, “King” Pele, who died Thursday at the age of 82 after a long struggle with illness.
And travel Lola da Silvawho officially took office Sunday in a ceremony that began with a minute of silence in honor of Pele, to the southeastern city of Santos to “pay his respects and honor” as the 24-hour open funeral concludes.
The emotion was evident on Lula’s face as he and his wife, first lady Rosangela da Silva, stood in front of Pele’s coffin and embraced his widow and family members inside the Villa Belmero stadium, home of Pele’s old club, Santos.
Thousands of fans and football dignitaries, led by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, took a final look at Pele’s coffin in the same stadium where he stunned the world in his early days with his most famous club, Santos.
“Pele is eternal. He is a global icon of football,” Gianni Infantino told reporters on Monday, adding that FIFA would ask all member states to name one of their stadiums after the Brazilian in his honour.
She is an old fan of the club Santos Katja Croce, 58, said she had queued for four hours to arrive at Villa Belmero at 1:30 pm to take a last look at Pele’s coffin. She noted, “Pele was everything. He was the king. He deserves this honour.” She also recalled that Pele was “a very good and humble person” and he always signed the souvenirs that people brought to his house, according to what she reported to Agence France-Presse, adding, “He was humble, a humility that today’s players do not have.”
In turn, Antonio Carlos Pereira da Silva, a 36-year-old artist, indicated that he arrived in the middle of the night to be among the first inside the stadium when the open funeral began on Monday morning. “If I said I didn’t cry when he died, I would be lying,” he said in an interview with Agence France-Presse. He continued, “Pele taught us a lot. Not only Brazil, but the whole world.”
Garlands of flowers from Neymar and Real Madrid
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, nicknamed Pele in his early years, emerged at the age of 15, when he had his first professional experiences with Santos Club.
He managed to win the World Cup three times with his country in 1958, 1962 and 1970, becoming the only player in history to achieve this feat.
The entire world was affected by Pele’s phenomenon, which was confirmed at the moment of his death, after messages of condolence poured in from all parts of the world, including many current and former star players who expressed their admiration for the “king” as a player.
Many sports stars, politicians, dignitaries and fans have moved to Santos to attend the last ceremonies, although New Year’s advent in the same period prevented many from arriving.
Men dressed in black, led by Pele’s son Edinho, carried the legend’s coffin onto the pitch on Monday morning.
In front of the open casket of the “king”, the widow of the late Pele shed tears as she extended her hand to touch his head, Marcia Sibile Oki, his third wife, with whom he was associated in 2016.
The casket was decorated with the flags of Santos and Brazil and surrounded by white flowers, including garlands presented by Real Madrid and current Brazil star Neymar, whose father was present.
Tributes poured in from all over Brazil. While a giant poster with a picture of Pele bearing the word “eternal” was raised at the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro.
Pele was recently treated for colon cancer, before his health deteriorated after he suffered from kidney and heart problems.
But he remained active on social media, as he supported the Brazil national team from his hospital bed in Sao Paulo during the World Cup in Qatar and offered his condolences to the Seleção, who was considered one of the most prominent candidates for the title before the start of the World Cup, after exiting the quarter-finals, Three weeks before his death.
In one final round, the funeral procession will pass through the streets of Santos to the home of Pele’s 100-year-old still-living mother, Celeste Arantes, before concluding at Santos Memorial Cemetery, where the last funeral will take place before Pele’s burial in a private mausoleum. .