Mourning for football legend: Brazil bids farewell to Pelé – coffin arrived at cemetery

As of: 01/03/2023 6:48 p.m

Pelé’s body was laid out in the stadium of his long-time club FC Santos – the coffin has now arrived at the cemetery. Brazil’s President Lula also attended.

Pelé lay peacefully in his coffin, hands clasped, body covered in white flowers – and thousands finally said goodbye to their football king. Many people cried at the public wake in Santos, including small children who never saw Pele play. They proudly held his jersey with the number ’10’ in the sky, Brazil paid their last respects to their hero for 24 hours.

At 10.05 a.m. local time, the doors to the Estadio Urbano Caldeira of “his” FC Santos opened to applause and Pelé shouts, where Pelé’s coffin is under a pavilion. 80 chairs were set up there for family members and friends. The fans will walk past the coffin on a catwalk about five meters away.

This is where Pelé used to bring so many moments of happiness to the Brazilians with his dribbles, tricks and goals. The fans walked past the embalmed corpse, they crossed themselves, a guard of honor in historical uniforms stood at the coffin in the middle of the field, wreaths of flowers were sent from all over the world.

Mourners in front of the Vila Belmiro stadium, where the Brazilian soccer legend is laid out in the center circle of the stadium.

Infantino: Pelé is eternal

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also paid his last respects to Pelé. The head of state attended the wake in the stadium on Tuesday and said goodbye to the three-time world champion, as was seen on TV Globo. Lula hugged Pelé’s son Edinho and his widow Marcia Aoki and said a prayer with family and friends right by the coffin.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino also traveled to Santos. “Pelé is eternal. We are here in great emotion and sadness, but also with a smile – because he gave us many of them”said Infantino.

Fans camped in front of the stadium

The first fans arrived in front of the stadium on New Year’s Day in the afternoon, around 20 hours before the gates opened, and they slept in the queue – so that they could be the first to say goodbye to their idol. “We have lost our king. The greatest in the world”said one.

During the night, Pelé’s coffin was transferred from the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, where he died on Thursday at the age of 82, to the port city, around 75 kilometers away. Hundreds lined the streets – fans waved huge flags and set off fireworks. His son Edinho wrote on Instagram in the early hours of the morning: “We’re bringing the king home.”

Many people gather in front of the Vila Belmiro stadium to say goodbye to Pelé.

Burial in the family circle

After a mourning procession lasting several hours through the streets of the Brazilian port city of Santos, the body arrived at the cemetery in the early evening German time. Military police officers in gala uniform carried the coffin into the Memorial Necropole Ecumênica high-rise cemetery, as was seen on TV Globo. The three-time world champion was to be buried there with his family.

Shaped football like no other

Pelé died on Thursday at the age of 82 after a long illness from cancer. The Brazilian government ordered a three-day state mourning. The world governing body FIFA called on the organizers of football competitions around the world to observe a minute’s silence before every game this weekend and next week in honor of the icon Pele who died.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, as the striker was called by his full name, shaped football like no other. Pelé was already a legend in his lifetime. World governing body FIFA had named him – like Argentinian Diego Maradona – the “Player of the 20th Century”. With 77 goals in 92 international matches, Pelé is still the Seleção’s record goalscorer.

In honor of the late football idol Pelé, the outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro declared a three-day national mourning.