Beginning on Monday with a 24-hour public wake at the stadium of his long-time team, Santos, Brazilians will say their final goodbyes to the football legend Pele this week.
A large number of mourners are expected to visit the oceanfront stadium of the team called “Peixe” (fish in Portuguese) in the days following the death of the “King” of football on Thursday at the age of 82 from cancer treatment.
The gates to the stadium will open at 10:00 a.m. (1300 GMT). The first player in history to win three World Cups will have his coffin honoured with a public display in the field’s centre.
The black-and-white stadium can hold up to sixteen thousand spectators, and it goes by the name Vila Belmiro because of the nearby community.
On Sunday, spectators could see three enormous flags, one of which featured a picture of Pele wearing his signature number 10.
The second said, “Long live the king,” while the third read, “Pele 82 years.”
Officials announced that the gates will remain open for spectators until 10:00 AM on Tuesday.
Then, a parade will be conducted in Santos, a port city located around 75 km (47 mi) from Sao Paulo, the state capital.
Celeste Arantes, Pele’s mother, who is now 100 years old and has no idea that her renowned son has passed away, will be living in the neighbourhood where the parade will pass.
Maria Lucia do Nascimento, Pele’s sister, told ESPN on Friday that her sibling was unaware of the situation. That “she is not awake”
At a cemetery in Santos, where the procession will conclude, Pele will be buried in a tomb designed especially for her.
Paying respects to an “eternal” celebrity
Pele, real name Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is generally agreed upon as the greatest footballer of all time.
His passing prompted condolences from all across the world, and Brazil observed three days of national mourning in his honour.
In his 21-year professional career, he scored 1,283 goals, the vast majority of which came during his time with Santos.
Fan floral wreaths add a dash of colour to Vila Belmiro, which is home to a bust and a statue of the football legend.
Sao Paulo electrician Silvio Neves Souza, who is on vacation, stopped by the stadium on Sunday despite his inability to attend the event properly.
The 54-year-old predicted that “a lot of people” — including both “old people who saw him play” and “young people” — will attend the funeral.
Banners with Pele’s picture adorn yet another monument built in his honour throughout the city.
When I had the ball at my feet, the world was a wonderful place.
A massive billboard of Pele, with the phrase “forever,” hangs in the lobby of the Brazilian Football Confederation’s Rio de Janeiro headquarters.
Furthermore, on Sunday at the inauguration of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a moment of silence was held in honour of Pele.
There will be a “strong” deployment of military police for the memorial services in Sao Paulo state, where digital public screens will also pay tribute to the prolific scorer.
Sao Paulo’s Congonhas Airport will have increased security in preparation for the arrival of thousands of mourners, including sports, politicians, dignitaries, and fans, for the wake.
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From December 29 till his death on December 29, Pele was a patient at the Albert Einstein Hospital.
On December 21st, his sister and I were with him, as he recalled later. It was awkwardly quiet, but I could tell he was feeling it and knew he was leaving because of the way he was talking.
As a child, Pele (who was born on October 23, 1940) sold peanuts to support his poor family.
His renowned moniker came about when he mispronounced the name of a goalie at the football team for whom his father formerly played, Vasco de Sao Lourenco.
Pele’s professional career with Santos kicked off when he was just 15 years old, and he immediately became a soccer superstar.
He was only 17 years old when he helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1958.
Afterwards, in 1962 and 1970, they won the World Cup. This later period was the height of his career, as he was a key player on what is often regarded as the best squad in history.
Over the past few years, Pele’s health has become increasingly precarious.
For the last three weeks of his life, he was an enthusiastic participant in social media, tweeting his support for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar and comforting the pre-tournament favourites after their early elimination.