The body of Brazilian football legend, Pele, was, yesterday, moved from the hospital, where he died to the stadium of his former Club Santos. Pele’s wake was held at Santos Football club yesterday, where his coffin was placed in the centre of the pitch for the public to pay respects. Pele, who won three World Cup titles for Brazil, the only player to do so, died at the age of 82 in Sao Paulo on Thursday, December 29, 2022.

The oceanside home of the team nicknamed ‘Peixe’ — ‘fish’ in Portuguese, witnessed a huge influx of fans looking to honour the ‘King’ of football.
Stadium doors opened at 10:00 am local time (1300 GMT), with the coffin bearing the remains of Pele displayed in the centre of the field.

Known as Vila Belmiro after the neighbourhood, where it is located, the black-and-white stadium has a capacity of 16,000 people. In the stands, three giant flags could be seen Sunday, one with an image of Pele displaying the famous number 10 on his jersey.

Another bore the message ‘Long live the king’; the third said simply, ‘Pele 82 years’. Entry to the stadium will be allowed until 10:00 am today, officials said.

After that, a procession was held through the streets of Santos, a port city about 75 kilometers (47 miles) from the state capital Sao Paulo. The parade passed the house of Pele’s mother, 100-year-old Celeste Arantes, who is unaware that her world-famous son has died.

“She doesn’t know,’ Pele’s sister, Maria Lucia do Nascimento told ESPN. “She is not conscious.”

The procession will end at a cemetery in Santos, where Pele will be interred in a special mausoleum. His death sparked a global outpouring of tributes, with his native Brazil holding three days of national mourning.

Pele scored 1,283 goals in a career of 21 years, most of them played at Santos. Wreaths of flowers left by his fans have brought a splash of colour to Vila Belmiro, which houses a bust and a statue of the football great.

Military police in Sao Paulo state, where digital street screens also pay tribute to the prolific striker, said there would be a ‘robust’ deployment for the posthumous tributes.

Born on October 23, 1940, Pele grew up selling peanuts on the street to help his impoverished family. He got his famous nickname after mispronouncing Bile, the name of a goalkeeper at Vasco de Sao Lourenco, where his footballer father once played.

Pele exploded onto the scene at age 15, when he started playing professionally with Santos. At just 17, he helped Brazil to its first World Cup championship, in 1958.

That was followed by World Cup titles in 1962 and 1970. He remained active on social media, cheering on Brazil during the World Cup in Qatar and consoling the pre-tournament favourites when they were eliminated in the quarter-finals just three weeks before his death.



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