Brazil mourns Pelé: O Rei’s body in the center of the Santos stadium for a last farewell

Thousands of mourners pay their respects Pele they gathered in solemn procession in front of his coffin at the Vila Belmiro stadiumin his hometown of Santosnear Sao Paulo. The great Brazilian footballer died last Thursday at the age of 82 after a battle with colon cancer. The coffin of the three-time World Cup winner, positioned in the center of the field where O Rei scored many of his best career goals, and where a Catholic mass will be celebrated tomorrow, Tuesday 3 January, before his burial in a nearby cemetery where the family tomb is located.

Gradually, the stands filled up with flowers posts by grieving Brazilians including clubs and star players including Neymar and Ronaldo, while the loudspeakers played the song entitled ‘Eu sou Pelé'(“I am Pelé”) which was recorded by the Brazilian himself. Vila Belmiro was decorated with Brazilian flags and No. 1 shirts. 10 that became popular after Pelé started wearing them for Santos and Brazil. Fans arrived already early in the morning to honor Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known worldwide as Pele. Another fan and friend in line was the Brazilian Supreme Court judge Gilmar Mendes.

The coffin with Pelé’s body left the hospital yesterday night for Vila Belmiro, escorted by four motorcycles harley davidson who made way for the hearse in via Anchieta. From that moment on, cars of the Civil, Military and Road Police, and of the Assault Troops, escorted O Rei along a route of almost 90km through the Serra do Mar which took one hour and 53 minutes. One block before the stadium, on Rua Princesa Isabel, Santos fans lit up fireworks in honor of the eternal number 10 shirt. With flags and applause, at least 50 people accompanied the car in front of the stadium, where the fans had already begun to gather in line for a final farewell to Pelé. His body will also be accompanied through the streets of Santos before his burial. The participation of the president of Brazil is expected Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and other personalities.

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