Pelé's coffin to lie in state at Santos stadium, where the legend began

REUTERS - AMANDA PEROBELLI

Just hours after Brazil's new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was officially sworn in, the wake began on Monday for the football legend Pelé on the field at Santos FC's Vila Belmiro stadium where he played for most of his storied career.

Thousands are expected to turn up at the Vila Belmiro stadium on Monday to say their farewells.

Dubbed 'The King' for his extraordinary feats with a football and goalscoring prowess, Pelé died last Thursday at the age of 82 from colon cancer.

On Tuesday, a procession carrying his coffin will go through the streets of Santos, passing the home of his 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, and end at the Ecumenical Memorial Necropolis cemetery.

He will be buried in a ceremony attended by family.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on 23 October 1940, he acquired the nickname Pelé during his childhood in Santos.

Still in his teens, he announced his prodigious talents at the 1958 World Cup where he helped Brazil to their first World title.

Four years later in Chile, he featured in a Brazil side that became only the second nation after Italy in 1934 and 1938 to retain the title.

Legend

His apotheosis came at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. He was the epicentre of a team that dazzled with their bravura in the blazing sun.

Pelé scored Brazil's 100th goal at a World Cup tournament when his header put them 1-0 ahead in the final against Italy.

He also set up Jairzinho's goal to extend their lead to 3-1.


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