Dhe body of Brazilian soccer legend Pelé has arrived at FC Santos stadium for the wake. The motorcade with the coffin of the world-famous soccer player arrived at the Estádio Urbano Caldeira in the Vila Belmiro district on Monday around 4 a.m. (local time), local media reported.
Numerous fans were already waiting in front of the entrance to the arena with waving flags, as could be seen on videos on social networks. The caravan, escorted by the police and fire brigade, had started about two hours earlier from the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo, about 80 kilometers away, where Pelé died on Thursday at the age of 82 after a long illness.
The body of the three-time world champion is to be laid out in the center of the stadium from 10 a.m. (local time), according to Pelé’s long-time club FC Santos. Pelé’s coffin will be under a gazebo. 80 chairs were set up there for family members and friends.
The fans will walk past the coffin on a catwalk about five meters away. Brazil’s new President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is also expected at the wake. This should last 24 hours.
On Tuesday, a funeral procession will take the body through the neighborhood where Pelé’s 100-year-old mother still lives to the Memorial Necropole Ecumênica high-rise cemetery. Pelé is to be buried there with his family.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, as the striker was called by his full name, shaped football like no other. He was already a legend in his lifetime. With 77 goals in 92 international matches, Pelé is still the record goalscorer for the Seleção of the Brazilian national football team. However, his 30-year-old compatriot Neymar also scored 77 goals.