On the heels of the World Cup, when all eyes were on the world of soccer, another
piece of big soccer news has transpired. Pele, a threetime World Cup winner and
arguably the best soccer player the world has ever seen, died at the age of 82 on
December 29, 2022.

The world paid homage this week to the soccer legend as his body lay in state for 24
hours in the center of the pitch in Santos’ Urbano Caldeira Stadium. The star had been
battling colon cancer since 2021.

The president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, paid his respects in person in Santos
after declaring three days of national mourning for Pele. Pele’s coffin was carried on a
fire truck through the streets packed with thousands of mourners, and covered with a
Brazilian flag as his fans honored him. His loving fans chanted “Pele1,000 goals” and
wore shirts that bore his beloved number ten as his coffin traveled through the streets.

The procession took a detour past the house where Pele’s 100yearoldmother,
Celeste Arantes, lives. A moment of silence took place as the procession passed her

The Santos Football Club hosted his wake and said that over 230,000 mourners
attended the wake, even with many mourners paying their respects through the night.
The funeral procession was set to end at the port city’s Memorial Cemetery, where he
will be laid to rest in a 10story mausoleum after a Catholic funeral mass. The
mausoleum holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the tallest cemetery
on Earth.

There was great joy among the many tears in the street, as Pele was muchrevered in
his beloved Brazil. The first mourner in line at the stadium,
Deofilo de Freitas, said,
“Pele was the Pele of the people, he joined all of us. It’ll be hard to find someone else
like him. In addition to being the best player in the world, he was a marvelous human

Santos FC
, where Pele spent the majority of his club career, tweeted: “Our eternal King
Pele says goodbye in Vila Belmiro, his home, with his people.”

According to the BBC, Pele was a positive force in Brazil. “Beyond football, Pele united
Brazilians by being their ambassador. In a country deeply divided politically and
economically people have only had good things to say about him.”

Marcia Simões
, paying her respects with her sons Eduardo and Mario on the road to
Pele’s burial place said, “He was important for the whole world, for young people too.
I’m prouder than ever to be from Santos.”

According to Adnan Zai, Advisor to Berkeley Capital, “Soccer is a sport that brings the
world together, and Pele was a very special player and ambassador for the sport. He
brought together the world.”

Although modern players have a much different relationship to the fans and the game,
Pele will certainly live on as one of the alltime greats. His soccer skill and his
humanitarian persona brought people together, and his memory will live on forever.