The three-time world champion rests in a hall that exudes soccer. At the entrance, two brass statues of a smiling Pele dressed in shorts greet the visitor.
On Monday, the mausoleum in the Brazilian city of Santos containing the mortal remains of soccer great Pele opened its doors to the public.
The pilgrimage to visit the iconic Brazilian striker's final resting place at the 14-story Memorial Necropole Ecumenica, considered to be the world's tallest cemetery, began with an event attended by the soccer great's son Edinho and several of his most diehard fans.
"We still feel a lot of sadness. We miss him a lot, but we also feel a lot of pride and happiness for all the affection and respects that he's been receiving," said Edinho.
The three-time world champion rests in a hall that exudes soccer. At the entrance, two brass statues of a smiling Pele dressed in shorts greet the visitor. In the dimly lit interior, the walls are covered with photos of fans, making the place seem like being in a stadium.
Artificial turf covers the floor and the three jerseys that changed forever Edson Arantes do Nascimento's life are displayed: the ones for Santos, the Brazilian national soccer team and the New York Cosmos.
Au Brésil, le mausolée où repose la dépouille de Pelé a ouvert au public— 20 Minutes (@20Minutes) May 16, 2023
➡️ https://t.co/1iKbvVbGsE pic.twitter.com/AQ2RyEAPoO
The tweet reads, "In Brazil, the mausoleum where Pele's body rests opened its doors to the public."
"It's another memorable moment for our family and to make our king eternal... The place has been designed with affection and love. It's noble, simple and very pleasant," Edinho said.
In the center of the hall is Pele's imposing tomb, fashioned of marble, with gold detailing and flanked by two columns made of mirrors. The vertical edges of the tomb are shaped like the World Cup trophy and on the lower portion are sculpted several moments from Pele's career.
The lid of the sarcophagus glitters and bears a huge cross in relief with the soccer icon's name, dates of birth (October 23, 1940) and death (December 29, 2022) on the lower part.
In the ceiling above the tomb is a rectangular and strongly illuminated opening resembling the sky - although it is not actually open to the heavens - and providing what appears to be direct access to Paradise.
"What was most emotional (was seeing) the photographs of fans because Pele never refused to pose for a photo. Even if it delayed him from catching a plane," said Cosmo Damiao Cid, one of the founders of the Torcida Jovem, a group of fans that has rooted for Santos since 1969.
Brazil lives 3 days of mourning for the death of Pele at the age of 82 years old. pic.twitter.com/iCUA1WmqOJ— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) December 30, 2022