In Santos Brazil in line for Pelé, ‘Love has won’ – Sport

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will travel to the southeastern city of Santos tomorrow morning to bid farewell to legendary footballer Pele, who died on Thursday at the age of 82. Lula, who was sworn in as president on Sunday, will make the first trip of his term outside of Brasilia to pay “tribute to Pele,” whose coffin is displayed in Santos stadium, “and in solidarity with his family, Tuesday at 9,” the presidency said.

Pele Eternal. It could only be like this, the people who loved him so much today paid Santos their last farewell to their King, in the stadium where the legend was born, the Vila Belmiro, home of the team of a city on the Paulista coast which is the best footballer in history made known to the world. Under the Brazilian summer sun, with a temperature that fluctuated between 29 and 32 degrees, tens of thousands of people, not only from Santos but also from other cities, formed a kilometer-long queue to enter from the entrances n .2 and 3 of the stadium, those reserved for the ‘torcida’, the common people. No one complained or was tempted to leave, and there were people who had camped out since the night before just to be sure of getting in, almost all dressed in Seleçao or Santos shirts. Also in line was Nicanor Ribeiro, a Pelé impersonator who recounted, moved, how “my King whom I have met three times” helped him win the fight against alcoholism.

A wave of great collective emotion swept across Brazil today, and Fifa president Gianni Infantino, one of the first VIPs (he slightly preceded Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) took part in it arrive at the wake on the Santos field, where the coffin with Pelé’s body had been carried by the staff and by his son Edinho, who now coaches Londrina in Serie B, and by Zé Roberto. The latter, now 48, wore the shirts of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich but today he returned to where his heart took him, namely to Santos where he too wore the shirt with the number 10, the same one that Pelé did not want that it was withdrawn, as confirmed today by the former president of the club Marcelo Teixeira, a friend of O Rei with whom he had discussed the subject.

Outside the gates of Vila Belmiro, while many prayed in line, including Paulo Cesar Lima, world champion at Mexico ’70, inside the Infantino stadium he instead launched a suggestive proposal: “like Fifa, now we will ask – he said – that everyone the countries of the world have a stadium named after Pele, so that even the children understand what he was for football”. Meanwhile, on the fields of all the national federations affiliated to the world one, including that of the Italian Serie A on Wednesday, a minute’s silence in memory of O Rei is and will be observed. Pelé is Eternal, as it is also written on the T-shirts that street vendors sell near the ‘Peixe’ plant, and Santos could not forget it even in the euphoria of New Year’s Eve.

Thus, as a sign of mourning, the ban on fireworks was respected for once and the city remembered its Rei with a special initiative: 80 drones, flying over Praia do Gonzaga, drew various figures in the sky to remember the trajectory of number 10. For today and tomorrow however, on the occasion of the funeral wake, of the procession through the streets of the city and then of the burial, the city authorities have forbidden the use of any type of drone. Brazilian public opinion was also moved by the words of the two grandchildren that Pelé had from Sandra Regina, the natural daughter from one of his servants and whom he only recognized in 1996 after a DNA test and a five-year legal case. Then the woman died of an incurable disease. Octavio and Gabriel, who live in the United States, today revealed that their grandfather in recent days, feeling that the end was near, specifically asked for them and had them come from the United States. The meeting took place in Albert Einstein’s hospital room and “he asked our forgiveness, he said he loved us – said Gabriel – and they were beautiful moments even if they were sad. Many times we thought of him, and we forgave him because this must be the message: forgiveness and love conquer all. He thought so too “. And now, as Edinho son ex Santos goalkeeper says who in the past had a conviction for a drug affair but for whom Pele had a soft spot, “my father is with God, and now he plays with Him”. And perhaps also with Diego Maradona, because praying for the great Argentine on the anniversary of the death of ‘Pibe’ O Rei said: “one day we will play together”. Now it is like this, and they will last forever.

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In Santos Brazil in line for Pelé, ‘Love has won’ – Sport

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