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Thousands of people started a solemn procession past Pelé’s coffin at the Vila Belmiro Stadium in Santos, his hometown on Monday.
On Thursday, the great Brazilian soccer player died after a long battle with cancer. The man who won the World Cup three times was 82.
The place where Pelé scored some of his best goals was where his coffin was put. People went by his casket as they walked through the middle of the 16,000-seat stadium outside of Sao Paulo. On Tuesday morning, a Catholic Mass will be held there before he is buried in a cemetery nearby.
Vila Belmiro was decorated with Brazilian flags and No. 10 shirts, which became popular after Pelé started wearing them for Santos and Brazil. The stands were filled with bouquets of flowers left by mourners and sent by clubs and star players from all over the world, including Neymar and Ronaldo. Loudspeakers played a song called “Eu sou Pelé” (I am Pelé) that was written and recorded by Pelé himself.
Fans showed up early to honor Pelé, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Pelé had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The cancer caused problems with many of his organs, which led to his death, the hospital where he was being treated said.
This firework tribute to Pele is incredible 🥺💚
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 2, 2023
Pelé led Brazil to World Cup victories in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He still has 77 goals, making him one of the team’s top scorers of all time. During this year’s World Cup in Qatar, Neymar tied Pelé’s record. On Monday morning, when the hearse pulled up to the stadium, tens of thousands of fans lined the streets to see the coffin. Some even waited all night to see it.
Pele’s son Edinho and former Brazil midfielder Ze Roberto helped carry his coffin, and Neymar, Vinicius Junior, and Real Madrid sent wreaths of flowers. Beatrice got up at six in the morning to travel from Soracaba to Santos with her husband. They had been waiting in line for more than six hours.