News Latin America Open the doors of the mausoleum that houses the remains of Pele...

Open the doors of the mausoleum that houses the remains of Pele in Santos

The mausoleum that was built to house Pele’s golden coffin began receiving visitors on Monday.

On the second floor of a vertical cemetery in the city of Santos, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, the mausoleum greets fans with two golden statues of Pele. Inside, the floor has artificial grass and the walls are covered with images of fans in the stadium while cheers are heard on the loudspeakers, as if Pele was still playing. The ceiling above the coffin of the three-time world champion footballer is painted blue.

Pele was buried in the cemetery on January 3, five days after passed away at age 82 for colon cancer.

“This was done with a lot of love by the people who knew him, who lived through it. It is the essence of what it was,” said an emotional Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, one of Pele’s sons, at a small ceremony attended by friends and family.

The owner of the cemetery, Pepe Alstut, who passed away in 2018, planned the mausoleum.

Alstut hoped the mausoleum would be placed on the ninth floor overlooking the Vila Belmiro stadium of the Santos club, where Pele played for 18 years. But his family buried him on the second floor so fans had better access.

“I’m shaking. The energy of this place is unreal,” said Erica Nascimento, a 42-year-old economist.

Former soccer player Roberto Milano, 56, was also moved.

“It’s part of my life,” Milano acknowledged. “As we get older we need to follow the best role models. Maybe it was the biggest model.”

Fans wishing to attend will need to book on the cemetery page.

Last month the Brazilian dictionary added “Pele” as an adjective to describe someone “exceptional, incomparable and unique”. The Michaelis dictionary ad was part of a campaign that gathered 125,000 signatures to honor the legacy of the iconic footballer.

Source: VOA Espanol

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