It was a moment of tears and tributes as thousands of football fans, political leaders, football dignitaries and families came to pay their last respect to the greatest legend of football, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele who was finally laid to rest on Tuesday at the ninth floor of the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica cemetery.
Interestingly, Memorial Necropole Ecumenica was built in 1983 and has more than 14,000 vaults, as well as a tropical garden, restaurant and a classic car museum.
Pelé was being laid to rest in the city where he grew up, became famous, and helped make into a global capital of his sport.
The Brazilian football legend, who passed away last week at the age of 82 after a battle with colon cancer, has been lying in state at the Urbano Caldeira stadium in Sao Paulo, where he scored so many goals and established himself as one of the best players of all time.
But he remained active on social media, cheering on Brazil from his hospital bed in Sao Paulo during the World Cup in Qatar and consoling the pre-tournament favourites when they were eliminated in the quarter-finals, three weeks before his death.
However, on Tuesday, thousands lined the streets, waving flags and applauding as the Brazilian’s coffin passed by. Pelé’s sister, Lucia, was seen tearfully waving from a balcony at crowds who had gathered outside her mother’s house.
Pele’s coffin was also carried through the streets of the city of Santos, including passing down the street where Pelé’s 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, lives.
High profile personalities such as the Brazil newly elected President, Lula da Silva, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and other football stars were in attendance.
According to Lula Da Silva, the Brazilian legend can’t be compare to anu other players.
“Pele is incomparable, as a soccer player and as a human being,” Lula said Tuesday, per Reuters.
Infantino described Pele as a king that deserves to be honour by all 211 countries under their body.
Recall that on Monday, he urged football members to name each stadium in honour of Pele.
“Pelé is eternal,” Infantino told reporters, per Reuters. “FIFA will certainly honor the ‘king’ as he deserves.
“We have asked all football associations in the world to pay a minute of silence before every game and will also ask them, 211 countries, to name a stadium after Pelé. Future generations must know and remember who Pelé was.”
Among those at the stadium was Pelé’s best friend Manoel Maria, also a former Santos player.
“If I had all the wealth in the world I would never be able to repay what this man did for me and my family,” Maria said. “He was as great a man as he was as a player; the best of all time. His legacy will outlive us all. And that can be seen in this long line with people of all ages here.”
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