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Brazil starts three days of mourning for legendary footballer Pelé

by Theophile
Brazilian football legend Pele

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has declared three days of national mourning for Pele after the legendary footballer died at the age of 82. The measure was announced on Friday in a decree published in an extra edition of the government gazette and signed by the outgoing president, who is set to leave office Sunday.

Brazil declared three days of mourning Thursday following the death of Pele.

“Official mourning is declared throughout the country, for a period of three days, counted from the date of publication of this Decree, as a sign of sorrow for the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, a former football player,” according to a decree signed by outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro.

Pele’s death moved Brazilians to pay tribute to the icon of the beautiful game.

Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter that Pele “through football, took the name of Brazil to the world. He turned football into art and joy. May God comfort your family and welcome you into his infinite mercy.”

President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva described himself as one of the privileged Brazilians who were able to experience the “show” Pele conducted.

“When he got the ball he always did something special, which often ended up in a goal,” Lula wrote on Twitter. “Few Brazilians took the name of our country as far as he did,” he said, noting how people around the globe learned to say “the magic word: “Pele.”

Lula said Pele would be in the company of distinguished footballing greats Coutinho, Didi, Garrincha, Nilton Santos, Socrates and Maradona, and added there would never be another “number 10 like him Thank you, Pele.”

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The wake for Pele will take place Monday after his body leaves Sao Paulo.

It is expected to start at 10 a.m. local time and will be open to the public until 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to Brazilian news portal G1,

A parade will take place through the streets of Santos where Pele played the majority of his career before he had a stint with the New York Cosmos.

The football icon will be laid to rest in a private burial Jan. 3 at the Memorial Necropole Ecumenica.

Pele won 10 state and six league titles, two Libertadores Cups and is in the Guinness Book of Records for scoring 1,279 goals in 1,363 matches.

The achievements of the “King of Football” have not been matched as Pele is the only footballer to lift the World Cup three times in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Bala Chambers/AA

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