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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

A crowd said their last goodbye to Pelé before his burial

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In a climate of pain from his closest relatives, his widow and his children, and the recognition with songs from the fans of the team where he played for 18 years and won 2 Libertadores and 2 Intercontinentals, the funerals ended to remember Pelé with the controversy installed that the great world champion figures in 1994 and 2002 did not come to see him off.

The most important institutional visit was that of Lula, who carried out his first official activity since taking office on Sunday during his trip to Santos, where he arrived by helicopter after having traveled by plane from Brasilia to São Paulo.

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The port of Santos, the largest in Brazil and Latin America, will be called Pelé, as will the avenue that surrounds the mythical stadium maracana from Rio de Janeiro.

All television networks broadcast the funeral, amid a climate of national admiration for the world champion in 1958, 1962 and 1970 who raised the level of global soccer and took the name of Brazil to all corners of the planet.

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“Pelé is a very special figure. We cannot continue comparing Pelé with anyone, because there is no one comparable to Pelé when it comes to a soccer player, a human being and the refined and educated behavior that Pelé had”Lula assured the Santos club television channel.

The 77-year-old president was with a delegation at the Santos stadium this Tuesday morning to participate in the funeral of the three-time world champion, which was attended by 230,000 people in 24 hours.

“The world owes a lot to Pelé, especially for the dignity of a man who was born poor, black, in a country where prejudices are very alive, and Pelé never cared about that, he always knew how to be Pelé, the best and very humble”said Lula, also of humble origins, who had to migrate with his family from the Northeast, escaping from hunger, to the state of São Paulo.

Lula recalled that as a Corinthians fan, he suffered every weekend with Pelé’s performance against his team and others.

“He made us go anywhere to watch football, because many times we not only like our team, we like someone who gives a show, someone who is brilliant. Pelé symbolizes everything that is the rise of the human species. We can do all of that to perceive the emergence of the human being was Pelé”, assured Lula, who assumed the Presidency for the third time last Sunday.

The wake was held at the Urbano Caldeira stadium in the Vila Belmiro de Santos neighborhood, the club where Pelé won two Copa Libertadores and two Intercontinental Cups.

The wake was held in an open box and, during the early hours of the morning, there was a line that stretched two kilometers with people waiting to say goodbye.

The stadium was decorated with the flags of different sectors of the fans and giant pictures of Pelé, one of which read “The only footballer who stopped a war” and “Viva o Rei”.

Pelé’s remains were carried in a coffin draped with the Brazilian and Santos flags in a Santos fire truck to be buried in a private cemetery in the city, according to reports.

The procession, in which thousands of people participated, stopped at the door of the house of Dona Celeste, Pelé’s 100-year-old mother whose state of health does not allow her to fully understand the situation, according to her relatives.

On Monday, the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantinoand the head of Conmebol, Alejandro Dominguez. Infantino announced that he will ask all the national federations to baptize at least one stadium in each country with the name of Pelé to defend “the legacy” of O Rei.

After the procession through the streets of Santos and Presidente Wilson Avenue, facing the Atlantic, the fire truck took Pelé’s remains to the Ecumenical Memorial Cemetery, which is a necropolis considered the highest in the world.

Pelé had bought a space for a mausoleum with his coffin facing the Vila Belmiro stadium, located 600 meters away. There Pele’s brother, Zoca, and his father, Dondinho, are entombed in niches.

Within the framework of the funeral, the absence of Neymar, the world champions of 1994 and 2002 and other Brazilian soccer figures caused a controversy in Brazil about the behavior of the ex-colleagues of “O Rei”.

“The five-time champions did not come to Pelé’s wake, nor did the four-time champions. The coach of the national team (in reference to Tite) did not come. Perhaps because they do not win a cachet. People have to know how giant Pelé is. Are they champions of the world and they didn’t come to see Pelé? At the very least it’s disrespectful,” said former soccer player José Ferreira Neto, the main soccer commentator on the Bandeirantes channel.

Neto specifically cited Neymar, Kaká and Ronaldinho Gaúcho.


Luiz Roberto, a commentator for the SportTV channel and the Globonews news channel, spoke in the same direction, considering that the absence of national team figures “is striking” and cited former Santos coaches such as Leao and Muricy Ramalho and himself Tite, who was technical director of the “canarinha” until the elimination in the quarterfinals at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

A wave of protests against the champion players of 1994 and 2002 was recorded on social networks.

The current Santos squad visited the wake on Monday and one of the main references who spoke was Yeferson Soteldo, the current Venezuelan star of Santos: “I will wear the King’s 10 with great responsibility,” he said at the wake.

Only Mauro Silva, 1994 champion, attended the wake on Monday but as part of the entourage of the São Paulo Football Federation, of which he is the leader.

“The important thing,” said commentator Neto, who played for the national team in the 1990s but was not a World Cup player and currently has a great influence on sports journalism, “is that the people went to say goodbye to Pelé, who is a citizen of the world, at the level of Mahatma Gandhi, of Mandela, that the Brazilian does not know how to recognize”.

Neymar, the main figure of Santos after Pelé in history, warned that he was not going to travel from Paris (he plays for PSG) and determined that he be represented by his father.

Faced with the escalation of the scandal in the networks, the captain of the five-time champion in 2002, Cafu, said that he was out of the country unable to return and that he hoped to attend a mass on the seventh day.

Source: Ambito

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