three days of mourning declared in Brazil, Craig Foster pays tribute to legend
Brazil has declared a three-day mourning period for the death of football icon Pele, who died aged 82.
The Vila Belmiro Stadium, where he played at Santos, will host his funeral, spanning two days early next week.
The club said that Pele’s body will leave the nearby hospital and be placed in the centre of the field, where mourners can visit from 10am that day until 10am the following day.
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The home of Pele’s mother, who is still alive at 100, will be part of the route where the casket is walked through the streets of the city – before a family-only burial.
Tributes have continues to flow in from around the world for arguably the best footballer of all time.
“Overnight one of the greatest and best known and loved humans, actually, to walk the planet, has left us,” former Socceroos captain Craig Foster said on TODAY.
“Not just, as everyone has said, one of if not the greatest footballer to ever live.”
Pele’s star began to shine at the 1958 World Cup, where he scored a brace in Brazil’s trophy-clinching victory over Sweden.
“For a 17-year-old in 1958 to score twice in the final – he scored three times in the semi-final and twice in the quarter-finals as well – he just burst onto the scene,” Foster said.
“He was only 170 centimetres tall, he was relatively small, but he was incredibly strong and extraordinarily skilled. And the world had seen nothing like him to that point.”
Foster also praised Brazil’s 1970 winners as “one of the greatest teams that football has ever seen” – but that despite all of Pele’s accomplishments on the pitch, he transcended the sport.
“More than that, he just became an incredibly loved, and one of best-known humans to walk the planet,” Foster said.
“At some points in his life, after he won that 1970 World Cup, which was the first telecast around the world in colour, he was better known than anyone else in the world.
“And everywhere he went he was feted in a way that very few have been.”
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