He was their “king”: Brazilian football fans at Pelé’s funeral
Brazil bids farewell to its great football icon. Farewell to perhaps the greatest football has ever seen. But only Edson Arantes do Nascimento is buried – Pelé lives on.
AWhen his eternal rival for the title of the best footballer of all time died unexpectedly in late 2020, Pele realized that comparisons were futile. In a message to the late Diego Maradona, Pelé wrote that the world would be a much better place if we compared less and admired more. “You are incomparable,” wrote Pelé, “I love you.” One day they would play together on the same team there in heaven. And he will cheer, not because of a goal, but because he can hug him again.
Now that day has come. After five days of mourning and farewells, Brazil has let its king go to play in heaven with Maradona and everyone else who has been waiting for him. Tens of thousands had previously paid their last respects to Pelé. In the Vila Belmiro, the small stadium of FC Santos, where Pelé had already shown his exceptional talent as a teenager and had grown into a world star, his body had been laid out for almost 24 hours since Monday. 250,000 people came to the wake, stood in line for hours to walk past the coffin and be close to Pelé one last time.