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Fans in their thousands queue to see hero Pele’s coffin – ahead of its unusual final resting place

Edson Arantes do Nacimento was not born here and he did not die here.

However, Peele put this place on the map for 19 seasons. So much so that the Brazilian government declared him a national treasure and he could not play anywhere else.

Fans sang his name and flew flags to welcome the return of the king to Santos.

Pele, the football icon and the only person to have won three World Cups, , died on 29/12 at the age 82. Before his burial at a nearby graveyard, a Catholic mass will be held in Santos.

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Pele was transported to Vila Belmiro, where banners were hung at the hoardings declaring “Viva O Rei”, and shirts bearing his iconic number 10, over each seat.

The final task of placing him on the centre circle was not as easy as fans might expect. To make space for the open casket to be lifted onto a plinth, the pallbearers had their chairs moved out of the way.

As they gathered, Edinho and those closest to him said goodbye and Edinho prayed.

More information about Pele

The FIFA president Gianni Intino led the dignitaries as they arrived.

He spoke to reporters outside and said that he would ask all countries to name a football stadium after him. Because 100 years from now, when children will be asking about Pele, they will need to know his legacy.

“And we must make sure that this happens.”

His coffin was first to be opened for visitors at 10 am.

Saulo, a rural Sao Paulo resident, lost his phone, but that didn’t dampen his spirits.

Sky News interviewed him and he said it was worth it. “When I saw him lying down, I wished that it wasn’t him. But, that is the reality today.

“There is no doubt that Pele the King is man.” We will always remember him in our hearts and memories.”

Continue reading:

Pele was the embodiment of the idea that football is a beautiful game

Pictures: The greatest ever footballer

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Pele’s open coffin at Brazil stadium

Many pilgrims had the same idea, came from all parts of the world, and dressed in the famous colours of Brazil and Santos.

One man, who lives in New York but grew up in St Lucia, told us that Pele, a black soccer player, was the first to be recognized as one of the greatest players in the world. Everyone wanted to be Pele.

An Englishman on holiday was stopped by us and he said that Brazil is in a horrible day. Football is something I grew up with. “I love football so I wanted to share my pride with everyone.”

We walked along the same route as those who revered him, and we saw the enormous floral wreaths that were sent by everyone from Brazilian football royalty to local philanthropists and state political parties.

We saw his family and friends still in pain next to his casket, flanked with the Brazilian honour guard. We also saw the great man, dressed in a Brazilian flag and with a stillness that was a far cry from his mischievous smile that has been so frequently seen around the world.

The festival atmosphere was not slowing down as the crowd grew longer and the queue remained a constant swarm of streets. People came with their dogs, family members, and friends of all ages.

Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, the new President of Brazil will arrive in Santos this morning, just 24 hours after Pele arrived.

His coffin will also transport his mother, a 100-year-old woman, to her home.

Pele’s final resting spot will be a “vertical cemetery” – a block high up just 200m from the stadium. It is close enough to hear the crowd roar.

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