Brazil: Football legend Pele has been laid to rest after having his coffin carried through the streets of Santos in Brazil, as the public paid their final respects to the sporting icon.
Thousands of fans gathered to watch the procession to say their last goodbye to the three-time World Cup winner on Tuesday ahead of his private burial.
The casket, draped in a Brazilian flag, passed through the neighbourhood where Pele’s 100-year-old mother lives, as mourners gathered.
The former Santos FC star, originally named Edson Arantes do Nascimento, died on Thursday aged 82, following a battle with colon cancer.
Image:Pele’s coffin is carried into Necropole Ecumenica Memorial Cemetery at the end of his funeral procession
The star, considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time, has been buried in the Ecumenical Memorial Necropolis cemetery overlooking the Santos stadium.
His last wish was selecting the ninth floor of a cemetery in his home city – in tribute to his father who wore the number 9 shirt as a player.
Image:Pele’s coffin travels through the city of Santos on a fire engine
Image:Pele’s coffin was taken to its final resting place through the Santos streets on top of a fire engine
Brazil observed three days of national mourning following his death, as 230,000 people went to view his open casket in the 16,000-seater stadium where he lay in state for 24 hours.
Football fans and sporting icons around the world have continued to pay tribute to the star.
Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “Goodbye Pele. Thank you for everything you did for the game that you made so beautiful.”
Image:Vila Belmiro had banners adorning the hoardings proclaiming “Viva O Rei”
However, FIFA president Gianni Infantino came under fire for taking a selfie while visiting Pele’s coffin which some critics on social media described as “shameless”.
Mr Infantino defended his actions and said in an Instagram post that Pele’s team-mates asked to take a photo with him, adding that he is “dismayed” by the criticism.
Pele underwent treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The medical centre where he had been treated said he died of multiple organ failure as a result of the cancer.
Dubbed the ‘king of soccer’, Pele played for Santos from 1956 to 1974, scoring more than 1,000 goals.
He played almost his entire club career at Santos, a satellite city of Sao Paulo, where he grew up.
‘An organic occasion for the humble Pele’
Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes:
“It was low-key, informal, yet humble – which maybe sums up who Pele was.
“Yes, the greatest. However, the military guard and the placing on the fire engine – a huge honour in Brazil – were the only two aspects of the day where there was a degree of formality.
“The rest of it was organic, and it went from a sombre occasion to one of joy and celebration. People were waving flags, singing and chanting. There were so many football shirts – Santos and Brazil – and of course so many number 10s. He made that jersey.
“He didn’t want a day full of pomp and ceremony, he wanted to be at his beloved Santos and he then wanted to go past his mother’s house on the procession, and then have a very private burial.
“It was an organic occasion for the humble Pele and the people that loved him.”