SANTOS, Brazil (AP) — Thousands of mourners began a solemn procession in front of Pele’s coffin at the Vila Vermiro Stadium in Pele’s hometown of Santos.
Brazilian football great died Thursday After a battle with cancer. He was 82 when he won the World Cup three times.
Pele’s coffin was placed on the field where he scored some of his best goalsMourners passed his coffin in the midfield area of a 16,000-seat stadium outside Sao Paulo. A Catholic mass will be held there Tuesday morning before he is buried in a nearby cemetery.
The Vila Belmiro was adorned with the Brazilian flag and the number 10 shirt that became popular after Pele started wearing it in Santos and Brazil.
The stands were set up by mourners while speakers played the song “Eu sou Pelé” (“I am Pelé”), with bouquets sent by clubs and star players around the world, including Neymar and Ronaldo. I’m full. Recorded by the Brazilian himself.
Fans arrived early to honor Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known worldwide as Pele.
Among them was FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who told journalists that all countries should name their stadiums after Pele.
“I’m here with a lot of emotion and sorrow, but he gave us so many smiles that I also have a smile on my face,” Infantino said. “At FIFA, we pay tribute to The King and ask the world for a minute’s silence.”
Another fan and friend was Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendez.
“It’s a very sad moment, but we now know that this legendary player means real things to our country,” Mendes said at a press conference. I have a picture of him as a keeper, and a shirt signed by him.I have a huge collection of DVDs, pictures, and him.”
Mendez also said that despite his worldwide fame, Pele is a humble man and deserves all respect.
Pele’s coffin is guided through the streets of Santos before his burial. Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and other dignitaries are expected to attend.
Pele had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The medical center where Pele was hospitalized said she died of multiple organ failure due to cancer.
Pele led Brazil to World Cup titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and remains one of the team’s all-time top scorers with 77 goals. Neymar equaled Pele’s record at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
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