Thousands pay their last respects to Pele in Brazil

Santos, Brazil | Xinhua | Thousands of people gathered Monday in the Brazilian city of Santos to bid farewell to football legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, who died at 82 on Thursday from colon cancer.

His wake was being held at the Urbano Caldira Stadium, the home field of Pele’s former team Santos, allowing fans to pay their last respects. Among those who attended were FIFA president Gianni Infantino, and the chief of South America’s CONMEBOL football confederation, Alejandro Dominguez.

Infantino said he planned to propose that all national football federations around the world name a stadium after the three-time FIFA World Cup winner (1958, 1962 and 1970), along with his Brazilian national team.

“We are going to ask all the federations in the entire world to name a stadium after Pele. I think that young people, the future generations, have to know and remember who Pele was and the joy he brought to the world,” Infantino said.

Fans waited more than three hours to view the casket, with the line at one point stretching some two kilometers.

The wake will continue until Tuesday, when Pele will be buried at a private cemetery in Santos, a coastal city located 60 kilometers from Sao Paulo, where he is revered as the greatest player of his hometown team, with whom he won two Copa Libertadores titles and two Intercontinental Cups.

Brazil’s government plans to rename the port of Santos, the largest in Brazil and Latin America, after the footballer, Sao Paulo state governor Tarcisio de Freitas told media upon arriving at the wake.

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