Santos says farewell as Pele laid to rest

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      Pele has been laid to rest.<br> Thousands lined the streets of Santos, the Brazilian coastal city where he played much of his career, to pay their respects to the soccer legend, widely regarded as the nation’s greatest ambassador and a core figure in its development.<br> An estimated 230,000 mourners, including the country’s new president, had filed past his open casket in the Vila Belmiro stadium, home of Santos Football Club, to pay homage in a 24-hour wake.<br> Pele, who died last week at the age of 82 after enduring colon cancer for a year, played for Santos from 1956 to 1974, scoring more than 1,000 goals.<br> After a mass his coffin, draped in a Brazilian flag, was placed atop a fire truck.

      It was then driven through the streets for four hours atop a fire truck.<br> Young and old embraced as the funeral procession wound its way through the streets, with some fans in tears and others cheering and chanting for a national hero who rose from barefoot poverty to become one of the greatest and best-known athletes in modern history.<br> One of the most moving moments came when the procession halted outside the home of his 100-year-old mother Celeste, who survives him.

      Crowds there applauded and chanted “Pele is our king,” before holding a minute’s silence.<br> Pele’s sister Maria Lucia Nascimento, 78, watched in tears from a balcony and thanked the crowds in a brief TV interview.<br> Newly sworn-in President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had arrived by helicopter at the stadium, where he stood for about 30 minutes next to Pele’s casket.<br> “It’s an irreparable loss for Brazil,” the president said.

      “Pele, in addition to being the best soccer player in the world, was a humble, simple man.”<br> Only two of the 67 living Brazilian world champions attended the service – 1994 World Cup winner Mauro Silva, who works for the Sao Paulo state FA, and 1970 champion Clodoaldo, Slot Deposit Pulsa Tanpa Potongan who works for Santos, prompting criticism from some commentators in the country.<br> His coffin was then taken into the Ecumenical Memorial Necropolis cemetery as bands played the Santos team’s official song, and a Catholic hymn.<br> He was then buried in a private ceremony.<br> The mausoleum where Pele now lies will be open to the public within seven days, the cemetery said.<br> Pele’s son, Edson Cholbi Nascimento, addressed the crowd by the cemetery.<br> “I wanted on behalf of the whole family to thank you for all the love, the respect,” he said.

      “It’s an honour, it’s a great pride. Once again thank you. Now he will rest.”<br> – with agencies<br>

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