Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Pele funeral procession sees streets packed for final farewell to Brazil legend

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Jan 2023

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Pele’s final journey through the streets of Santos saw thousands turn out on Tuesday to bid farewell to the man they knew as ‘King’.

The Brazil great’s death at the age of 82 was announced last Thursday, with the three-time World Cup winner having suffered from cancer.

He was moved to palliative care early in December after his body stopped responding to treatment, and his death has been felt deeply across the country.

Santos, a municipality close to Sao Paulo, is the city in which Pele spent his entire club career and far beyond.

He was the superstar of the Santos team, whom he represented from 1956 to 1974, scoring 643 goals in 659 matches and resisting opportunities to move to leading European teams.

A 24-hour wake began on Monday, with fireworks set off and flags waved in his honour, and the celebration of his life continued as his coffin left the Vila Belmiro stadium to travel through the city, before heading to the Memorial Necropole Ecumenica.

That is a vertical, high-rise cemetery, with Pele due to be laid to rest on its ninth floor, at a site that overlooks the Vila Belmiro.

Santos City Hall said over 230,000 people had filed past Pele’s coffin while it lay at the stadium, and crowds gathered outside as it left.

The cortege travelled along the beach front, with his coffin resting on top of a fire engine, draped in a Brazil flag.

Many walked alongside and behind, with Santos flags waved and applause by long-time admirers.

The coffin passed by the home of Pele’s 100-year-old mother.

On Santos beach, overhead shots showed a view of a message inside a heart, etched onto the sand, reading: “Pele will be eternal.”

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