Thousands of fans gathered in Santos, Brazil, to pay their respects for the late soccer legend Pele.
Santos was the club where Pele played over 600 games and scored more than 600 goals. A statue of his famous Santos jersey stands here as well. The Brazilian flag flew at half-staff.
Pele’s public wake was held Monday at the Urbano Caldeira Stadium. The soccer star died on Thursday after undergoing treatment for colon cancer since September 2021. He was 82.
The three-time World Cup winner’s coffin was placed on the field where he scored some of his best goals, and mourners walked past his casket.
The stadium was decorated with Brazilian flags and No. 10 shirts, which is the number Pele wore on his jersey for Santos and Brazil.
Meanwhile, the stands were filled with bouquets of flowers from mourners and “Eu sou Pele” (“I am Pele”), a song recorded by the star played on repeat in the loudspeakers.
His burial will take place in a cemetery only 600 meters away on Tuesday, that is today.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino and former Santos teammates were in attendance of Pele’s last public appearance. Pele’s coffin will also be ushered through the streets of the city later in the day before his burial.
Pele was draped in the colours of the Brazilian flag.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as ‘Pele’ passed away in Sao Paulo on Thursday. He was 82 years old at the age of his death.
Born on Oct. 23, 1940, in the small Minas Gerais town of Tres Corações, he learned the game from his father, a semi-professional player whose promising career was derailed by a knee injury.
Pele’s 1,281 goals in 1,366 games, as tabulated by FIFA’s website, came at a startling rate of 0.94 per match. Some of those were friendlies or came in games played as part of his military service, but he was just as prolific in official tournaments, with 757 goals in 812 games. In all, Pelé played 114 matches with Brazil, scoring a record 95 goals, including 77 in official matches.
He rose from poverty to become one of the most well known sporting starts of the modern world.
He went on to set a world record of 1,281 goals, and is the only player ever to win the World Cup three times.
His contribution was monumental in turning football into the world’s most popular sport. He had a career spanning seven decades as a player as well as ambassador of the sport.