Pele's goalden casket: Football legend's mausoleum opens to the public
Pele’s goalden casket: Football legend’s mausoleum opens to the public with the Brazilian star laid to rest in a ‘stadium’ featuring artificial grass and an endless soundtrack of cheering fans
- Pele lies in a gold coffin on which scenes of his greatest triumphs are engraved
- The casket takes pride of place in a 2,100 sq.ft. hall lined with memorabilia
- The footballer, one of the greatest to ever play the game, died on December 30
The grave site of Pele has been opened to the public, and is a fitting resting place for one of the greatest footballers the world has ever known.
On the second floor of a vertical cemetery in Santos, outside Sao Paulo, fans wanting to pay their respects to Edson Arantes do Nascimento are welcomed into his mausoleum by two golden statues of their idol.
The room is designed to look like a stadium – the floor is made of artificial grass, the walls are adorned with images of fans in the stands, and a recording of hordes of cheering onlookers echoes around the hall on repeat.
Pele’s coffin of course takes centre stage in the 2,100 sq. ft. room.
The footballer, who died on December 30, 2022, lies in a solid gold casket in keeping with the golden trophy he received after guiding Brazil to World Cup glory three times in just 12 years.
And the ceiling above the casket of the three-time World Cup champion is a warm shade of blue, reminiscent of the cloudless skies under which he once played.
View of the mausoleum where the coffin of late Brazilian football star Pele rests, at the Ecumenical Necropolis Memorial cemetery in Santos, Brazil on May 15, 2023
The footballer, who died on December 30, 2022, lies in a solid gold casket in keeping with the solid gold trophy he received after guiding Brazil to World Cup titles three times
Detailed view of the coffin of late Brazilian football star Pele, in his mausoleum at the Ecumenical Necropolis Memorial cemetery in Santos, Brazil on May 15, 2023
A statue of Pele inside the mausoleum where he is buried, in Santos, Brazil, 15 May 2023
The son of late Brazilian football star Pele, Edson Cholbi Nascimento, cries while visiting the mausoleum where his father’s coffin rests
Pele was laid to rest here on January 3, five days after he died at age 82 of colon cancer.
‘This was made with a lot of love by people who knew him, who lived with him. It has the essence of what he was,’ an emotional Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, one of Pele’s sons, said after a small ceremony with family and friends.
The mausoleum was planned by the owner of the cemetery, Pepe Alstut, who died in 2018.
Mr Alstut hoped the mausoleum would be on the ninth floor, overseeing the Santos club’s Vila Belmiro Stadium, where Pele starred for 18 years.
His family, instead, buried him on the second floor so fans could have better access.
The masoleum is packed with memorabilia, including Brazilian national and Santos club strips worn by the man himself, and the coffin is adorned with engravings designed to emulate landmark moments in Pele’s glittering career, such as his 100th goal and his trademark raised-fist celebration.
The son of late Brazilian football star Pele, Edson Cholbi Nascimento, poses for a picture while visiting the mausoleum
The mausoleum where former Brazilian soccer legend Pele is buried opened its doors to the public on 15 May 2023. Pele died on 29 December 2022 at the age of 82
Part of the mausoleum where soccer legend Pele is buried, in Santos, Brazil, 15 May 2023
A Santos soccer club fan touches one of the Brazilian soccer jerseys used by late Brazilian soccer great Pele
Fans visit the tomb of the late Brazilian soccer great Pele
Fans visit the tomb of the late Brazilian soccer great Pele which became open to the public for the first time at the mausoleum of Necropole Ecumenica Memorial Cemetery in Santos
‘I am shaking. The energy of this place is surreal,’ said Erica Nascimento, a tearful 42-year-old economist.
Former footballer Roberto Milano, 56, was also moved.
‘He is part of my life,’ Mr Milano said. ‘As we grow old we need to follow the best role models. Maybe he was the biggest of them all of these role models.’
Fans willing to attend must book a time on the Memorial cemetery website, and only 60 fans can visit the space per day.
Pele led Brazil to World Cup titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and remains the only player to have won the tournament three times.
The International Olympic Committee recognised Pele as the ‘athlete of the century’ in 1999.
After retiring in 1977, Pele served as ‘champion for sport’ for the United Nations cultural organisation, UNESCO, helping promote physical education across the world. He also supported UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund, as a goodwill ambassador.
Last month, a Brazilian dictionary added ‘Pele’ as an adjective to use when describing someone who is ‘exceptional, incomparable, unique’.
The announcement by the Michaelis dictionary was part of a campaign that gathered more than 125,000 signatures to honour the late football great’s impact.
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