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Wednesday, 17 May 2023

See beautiful PHOTOS as grave site of football legend Pele opened to the public with the Brazilian star laid to rest in a 'stadium' featuring artificial grass


The grave site of football legend Pele has been opened to the public.

On the second floor of a vertical cemetery in Santos, outside Sao Paulo, fans can now pay their respects to Edson Arantes do Nascimento.

The room is designed to look like a stadium, the floor is made of artificial grass, the walls are adorned with images of fans in the stands, and a recording of cheering onlookers echoes around the hall on repeat. Pele's coffin takes centre stage in the 2,100 sq. ft. room.

The footballer, who died on December 30, 2022, lies in a solid gold casket in keeping with the golden trophy he received after guiding Brazil to World Cup glory three times in just 12 years.

Pele was laid to rest here on January 3, five days after he died at age 82 of colon cancer.

'This was made with a lot of love by people who knew him, who lived with him. It has the essence of what he was,' an emotional Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, one of Pele's sons, said after a small ceremony with family and friends.

The mausoleum was planned by the owner of the cemetery, Pepe Alstut, who died in 2018.

Mr. Alstut hoped the mausoleum would be on the ninth floor, overseeing the Santos club's Vila Belmiro Stadium, where Pele starred for 18 years.
His family, instead, buried him on the second floor so fans could have better access.

The masoleum is packed with memorabilia, including Brazilian national and Santos club strips worn by the man himself, and the coffin is adorned with engravings designed to emulate landmark moments in Pele's glittering career, such as his 100th goal and his trademark raised-fist celebration.

'I am shaking. The energy of this place is surreal,' said Erica Nascimento, a tearful 42-year-old economist.

Former footballer Roberto Milano, 56, was also moved.

'He is part of my life,' Mr Milano said. 'As we grow old we need to follow the best role models. Maybe he was the biggest of them all of these role models.'

Fans willing to attend must book a time on the Memorial cemetery website, and only 60 fans can visit the space per day.

Pele led Brazil to World Cup titles in 1958, 1962, and 1970, and remains the only player to have won the tournament three times.

The International Olympic Committee recognised Pele as the 'athlete of the century' in 1999.

After retiring in 1977, Pele served as 'champion for sport' for the United Nations cultural organisation, UNESCO, helping promote physical education across the world. He also supported UNICEF, the UN Children's Fund, as a goodwill ambassador.

Last month, a Brazilian dictionary added 'Pele' as an adjective to use when describing someone who is 'exceptional, incomparable, unique'.

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