Pelé is honored by Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro

RIO DE JANEIRO-. Brazilians paid tribute to Pelé on Friday, a year after the three-time World Cup champion died of colon cancer.

A ceremony held at the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most emblematic places in the South American country, included the projection of the Brazil national team jersey with Pelé’s name and number 10 on the sculpture. A message from Pope Francis was read.

During his life, Pelé was a devout Catholic. He died at 82 years old

“Pelé, the name with which Mr. Edson Arantes do Nascimento became globally famous, was undoubtedly an athlete who showed in his life all the positive traits of sportsmanship. The memory of the King of Football remains indelible in the minds of many, and stimulates new generations to seek in sport a means of strengthening the bonds of unity between us,” says the pontiff’s letter, read while a local orchestra performed music. .

Other religious ceremonies were held at the Pelé Museum in Santos, the port city that the footballer put on the map, thanks to his goals and his success with the local club, as well as in the small town of Tres Corações, where The athlete was born in 1940.

The Santos club also held a tribute at the Vila Belmiro Stadium, where Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, one of Pelé’s sons, released 10 white balloons from the central circle. Pelé’s funeral was held there.

FIFA also paid honors, with a video that showed the best plays of the Brazilian star and with the message: “Pele’s legacy will live forever.”

Earlier this year, a Brazilian dictionary chose to honor Pelé by adding his name as an adjective to describe someone “exceptional, incomparable and unique.”

Pelé spent almost two decades enchanting fans and even rivals as the most productive scorer with Santos and the Brazilian national team. In the debate about who is the best footballer in history, Pelé usually heads the list along with the Argentine Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, and the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo.