Pele’s coffin carried to stadium as Brazil bids farewell to football icon


Thousands of football fans are saying a final farewell to Brazil football hero Pele at the home of his former club Santos.

The coffin of the three-times World Cup winner was carried to the centre circle of the Brazilian’s club’s Vila Belmiro stadium where he will lie in state for 24 hours.

The sporting icon, nicknamed “The King” because of his supreme footballing ability, died last week at the age of 82 following a long battle with colon cancer.

Pele played almost his entire club career at Santos, a satellite city of Sao Paulo, where he grew up.

A view of the Vila Belmiro Stadium, where the wake for late Brazilian soccer legend Pele will be held, in Santos, Sao Paulo state, Brazil January 1, 2023. REUTERS/Diego Vara
The Vila Belmiro Stadium

He played 656 competitive matches for the side, helping them to numerous trophies, including six Brazilian league titles.

After lying in state at the Vila Belmiro stadium, Pele’s casket will be carried through the streets of Santos to the home of his 100-year-old mother.

He will then be buried at the Memorial Necropole Ecumenical, a vertical cemetery in Santos, on Tuesday, with only his family present.

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Such is Pele’s influence in Brazil, and the wider footballing world, millions of people are expected to descend on Santos over the next few days.

Pictures show fans sleeping outside the Vila Belmiro stadium overnight to queue to see Pele lie in state.

Soccer fans sleep outside the Vila Belmiro stadium waiting for the doors to open for the funeral of the late Brazilian soccer star Pele, in Santos, Brazil Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Fans slept outside the Vila Belmiro stadium

Tributes were paid from across the world following his death on Thursday, while Brazil took part in three days of national mourning.

In England, commemorations were held at every Premier League football match across the weekend.

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