Mourners lined the streets within the coastal metropolis of Santos, Brazil, on Tuesday as Pele’s physique was transported in a black coffin from the Vila Belmiro stadium to the late soccer legend’s ultimate resting place on the Necropole Ecumenica Memorial Cemetery.
A band greeted the casket because it entered the cemetery, taking part in a Catholic hymn and the group tune for the native Santos soccer group, the place Pele performed for a lot of his profession. Fans additionally serenaded the casket with samba music, as a tribute to the fallen sports activities star.
Pele was laid to relaxation in a 200sq metre mausoleum, close to the place his father, aunt, brother and daughter are interred. His burial place will likely be adorned like a soccer stadium, with pictures of his profession highlights.
The burial marked the tip of a 24-hour public memorial service for Pele, who died final week on the age of 82 after battling colon most cancers for a yr.
More than 230,000 individuals, together with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had come to Santos to pay their respects to the three-time World Cup winner, who lay in an open casket on the midfield line of the Vila Belmiro stadium on Monday and in a single day into Tuesday. His coffin was draped within the flags of Brazil and the Santos Football Club.
Mourners ranged from highschool college students to Supreme Court justices, a few of whom spent hours lining as much as pay their respects to Pele within the century-old stadium the place he made his hometown group one among Brazil’s greatest.
Santos was not solely the place Pele grew up but additionally the place he grew to become well-known, making town a worldwide capital of soccer. He stays the one participant ever to win three World Cups.
“Pele represents a lot for us Brazilian people,” Thiago Mostazo, a soccer fan, informed Al Jazeera outdoors the stadium. “It’s a sad moment, but it’s also a moment to honour his life and his career as the greatest football player ever.”
Geovana Sarmento, 17, waited for 3 hours to view Pele’s physique because it lay in repose on the stadium. She got here together with her father, who was carrying a Brazil shirt with Pele’s identify.
“I am not a Santos fan, neither is my father. But this guy invented Brazil’s national team. He made Santos stronger, he made it big, how could you not respect him? He is one of the greatest people ever, we needed to honour him,” she informed the Associated Press information company.
“Long live the king,” a large banner learn contained in the stadium. Dubbed the “king of soccer“, Pele performed for Santos from 1956 to 1974, scoring greater than 1,000 targets.
Lifelong Santos fan Katia Cruz, 58, who lives a block from the stadium, mentioned she had stood in line for 4 hours to get into the Vila Belmiro at 1:30am (04:30 GMT), attending the wake alone as a result of her husband was “inconsolable”.
She recalled Pele as a “very good, down-to-earth person” who would all the time autograph the memorabilia individuals delivered to his home.
“He was humble, a humility today’s players don’t have,” she informed AFP.
Others expressed disappointment that a few of Brazil’s most well-known footballers weren’t in attendance.
“Where’s Ronaldo Nazario? Where’s Kaka, where’s Neymar?” Claudionor Alves, a 67-year-old who works at a bakery subsequent to the stadium, requested the Associated Press. “Do they think they will be remembered like Pele will? These guys didn’t want to stop their vacations, that’s the problem.”
Rows of shirts with Pele’s quantity 10 had been lined up behind one of many goalposts, waving within the metropolis’s summer season breeze. A piece of the stands was filling up with bouquets of flowers positioned by mourners and despatched by golf equipment and star gamers – Neymar and Ronaldo amongst them – from world wide as loudspeakers performed a tune known as Eu sou Pele (I’m Pele) that was recorded by the Brazilian himself.
The crowd was principally native, though some got here from far corners of the nation. Many mourners had been too younger ever to have seen Pele play.
Newly sworn-in President Lula arrived by helicopter on Tuesday morning and stood subsequent to Pele’s coffin within the centre of the sector. He took half in a Catholic mass as followers continued to stroll previous the coffin, and expressed his condolences to Pele’s widow, Marcia Aoki.
“Few Brazilians carried the name of our country as far as he did,” Lula mentioned final week after Pele’s demise.
In the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies, Pele was maybe the world’s most well-known athlete. He met presidents and queens and, in Nigeria, a civil battle was placed on maintain to observe him play. Many Brazilians credit score him for placing the nation on the world stage for the primary time.
Celebrities and authorities additionally paid their respects. FIFA President Gianni Infantino was one of many first to attend the memorial on Monday and mentioned he would ask soccer associations world wide to call a stadium after Pele.