Pele’s coffin arrives at Santos Stadium for final farewell
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FIFA president Gianni Infantino has come under fire after appearing to take a selfie of Pele’s open casket during the legendary player’s wake in Brazil. Pele passed away last week due to organ failure as a result of the progression of colon cancer.
Pele’s wake was hosted by Santos Football Club in Brazil. The former striker had spent almost the entirety of his playing career at Santos, before embarking on a two-year spell with New York Cosmos ahead of his retirement in 1977.
According to The Times, Infantino attended Pele’s wake along with the heads of the South American and Brazilian football confederations. And the Italian was among the first to pay his respects before Pele’s open casket.
The casket was on display in the middle of the pitch. And a picture later emerged of what appeared to show Infantino taking a selfie. The FIFA chief took the selfie moments after he had offered condolences to Pele’s widow Marcia Aoki and his son Edinho.
Thousands of people had formed queues to enter Santos’ Vila Belmiro Stadium before the wake had got underway. The coffin was brought to the stadium by Edinho, as well as well-known former Santos players.
And Infantino also said that he would be asking every country to name a football stadium in Pele’s honour. “We’re going to ask every country to name one of their football stadiums with the name of Pele,” Infantino told journalists. “We’re here with great sadness. Pele is eternal. He’s a global icon of football. Future generations have to know and remember who Pele was.”
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Pele was widely regarded as one of the greatest players to ever walk the earth and scored an incredible 77 goals in 92 appearances for Brazil. He helped his country lift the World Cup trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and is still the only player to have won the tournament three times.
Following his death, Brazil declared three days of mourning as outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree that read: “Official mourning is declared throughout the country, for a period of three days, counted from the date of publication of this decree, as a sign of regret for the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, a former football player.”
And current players were quick to pay their tributes as Neymar took to Instagram to post: “I would say before Pele football was just a sport. Pele has changed it all. He turned football into art, into entertainment. He gave voice to the poor, to the blacks and especially: He gave visibility to Brazil. Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King! He’s gone but his magic remains. Pele is FOREVER!!”
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