Thousands of mourners line the streets in Santos to say final farewell to football legend Pele

3 January 2023, 17:11

Thousands gathered for the procession in Santos.
Thousands gathered for the procession in Santos. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Thousands of mourners have lined the streets of Santos to say their final farewell to football legend Pele.

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Pele's coffin was draped in a Brazil flag and guarded by army soldiers on Tuesday as his procession began following a lying in state.

A Catholic Mass was celebrated at the Vila Belmiro stadium before his casket began its journey on the back of a fire engine through the streets of Santos, Sao Paolo.

The procession started at around 1pm (GMT) and gradually made its way past crowds of mourning fans.

Pele was slowly driven past the house of his 100-year-old mother before arriving at his final resting place.

He is being buried in a 14-storey 'vertical cemetery' with a small ceremony for family members and friends also set to be held.

Read more: Fifa president sparks outrage with open casket selfie - as he calls on every country to name stadium after Pelé

Read more: Pelé lies in state at former club Santos' stadium, as thousands gather to pay respects to football icon

The coffin of the late Brazilian soccer star Pele is wrapped in the Brazilian flag and the flag of Santos FC
The coffin of the late Brazilian soccer star Pele is wrapped in the Brazilian flag and the flag of Santos FC. Picture: Alamy
Fans of the late Brazilian football star Pele gather on the street
Fans of the late Brazilian football star Pele gather on the street. Picture: Getty

The newly-appointed president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was among those to pay tribute to the national icon ahead of his burial.

He tweeted: "Farewell to the king. Rest in peace, Pele."

Former England striker Gary Lineker also paid tribute to the star, saying: "Goodbye Pele. Thank you for everything you did for the game that you made so beautiful."

The coffin of the late Brazilian football is transported on a firetruck outside the Urbano Caldeira stadium
The coffin of the late Brazilian football is transported on a firetruck outside the Urbano Caldeira stadium. Picture: Getty

It comes after Fifa President Gianni Infantino sparked outrage after appearing to take a selfie near Pele's open casket.

He appeared today at Pelé's wake in Santos - at which he also suggested Fifa would ask every country to name a football stadium after the Brazilian legend.

Infantino hit back, claiming he was helping Pele's former teammates, who "did not know" how to take a selfie properly.

eople follow the funeral procession of Brazilian football legend Pelé as his coffin is transported through the streets of Santos
eople follow the funeral procession of Brazilian football legend Pelé as his coffin is transported through the streets of Santos. Picture: Getty

Pele is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

He won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and scored 77 times in 92 games for his country's national team.

During his time playing for Brazilian club Santos, he scored 643 goals across 659 official matches.

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