Sao Paulo, Europe Brief News – Brazil begins to say goodbye to global icon Pelé with a wake in a stadium that launched his career and stardom.
Pelé’s coffin taken from the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo to Santos for a 24-hour wake at the Urbano Caldeira stadium.
Stadium doors were due to open at 10:00 am local time (1300 GMT), with the coffin bearing the remains of the only player to have won three World Cups displayed in the centre of the field.
Known as Vila Belmiro after the neighborhood where it is located, the black-and-white stadium has a capacity of 16,000 people. In the stands, three giant flags could be seen Sunday, one with an image of Pele displaying the famous number 10 on his jersey.
Another bore the message “Long live the king”; the third said simply, “Pele 82 years”. Entry to the stadium will be allowed to say Goodbye until 10:00 am Tuesday, officials said. After that, a procession will be held through the streets of Santos, a port city about 75 kilometers (47 miles) from the state capital Sao Paulo.
He scored 1,283 goals in a career of 21 years, most of them played at Santos. Wreaths of flowers left by his fans have brought a splash of color to Vila Belmiro, which houses a bust and a statue of the football great.