RIO DE JANEIRO: The world football icon, Pele or his real name, Edson Arantes do Nascimento was safely laid to rest in the city where he started his career 70 years ago, in Santos yesterday.
Pele, who breathed his last last week at the age of 82 having scored 1,283 goals for country and club, was laid to rest in a cemetery near the Vila Belmiro Stadium after his coffin was paraded for three hours around the city of Santos.
The procession of the late Pele’s coffin started at 10am at the Urbano Caldeira Stadium, witnessing more than 230,000 fans, most of whom wore yellow shirts, symbolic of the Brazilian national jersey, expressing their sorrow for the world legend’s passing.
A large banner with the inscription ‘Viva O Rei’ which means the Sovereignty of my King was spread on one of the buildings in the city of Santos.
The coffin was also taken to one of the streets in Santos that houses the house of Pele’s 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes.
The procession then arrived at its destination at the Necropole Ecumenica Cemetery, where the ceremony was held in private and attended only by the family and close friends of the deceased.
Brazilian President Lula da Silva who attended Pele’s funeral described the world as having lost an irreplaceable legend.
“No one can match what he (Pele) has done, either as a football player or as a human being,” explained Lula.
For more than six decades, the name Pele has been synonymous with football.
He has featured in four World Cups becoming the only player in history to win the competition three times, and his legacy of success and goalscoring record will remain etched in world history. – AGENCIES
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