Christ the Redeemer turns green & yellow for Pele as nation mourns death of hero
The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio has been illuminated in green and yellow with Brazil set for three days of national mourning after Pele’s death.
Football legend Pele – considered by many to be the best player of all time – died at the age of 82 on Thursday after battling cancer for a number of years.
The Brazil icon won three World Cups – the only player in history to do so – in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and his record of 1279 goals in 1363 appearances in all games including friendlies is recognised as a Guinness World Record.
Pele spent the majority of his club career in Brazil with Santos – which at the time – was considered among the best leagues in the world, helping them lift six top-flight titles as well as two Copa Libertadores trophies.
His success with the national team turned him into one the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century – scoring 77 goals across 92 games for Brazil – and he remains the the joint-top scorer in the country’s history.
Pele, nicknamed ‘O Rei’ (The King), was crowned Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee in 1999 while FIFA named him joint Player of the Century in 2000 along with Diego Maradona.
Pele’s legacy on Brazilian sport and culture is unrivalled and he became a national hero not only for his football achievements but for his outspoken support of policies to improve social conditions of the poor.
The country now plans to officially mourn him for three days and his funeral is set to be held at Santos’ stadium on January 2 and January 3, 2023.
The period of mourning for Pele was announced by President Jair Bolsonaro and devastated fans have been pictured on the streets of Rio in tears as they come to terms with the passing of their greatest ever footballer.
Meanwhile, back in the United Kingdom, the Wembley Stadium arch has also been lit up in Brazil colours to pay tribute to the late, great Pele.
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