Christ the Redeemer Illuminated in Pelé Tribute: One-Year Anniversary of Soccer Legend’s Passing

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Photo: Twitter Screenshot - Naija PR

On the solemn occasion of the first anniversary of Pelé’s passing, iconic landmarks across Brazil paid heartfelt tributes to the legendary soccer player, with Christ the Redeemer taking center stage in a touching display. 

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The beloved sportsman succumbed to colon cancer at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire millions.

In a touching homage, the towering Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro was bathed in the glow of a projection featuring a Brazilian national team shirt adorned with Pelé’s iconic number 10. The moving gesture also included a special message from Pope Francis, acknowledging Pelé’s deep-rooted faith as a devout Catholic.

“Pelé, as Mr. Edson Arantes do Nascimento became globally known, was undoubtedly an athlete who showed in his life all positive traits of a sportsman,” expressed Pope Francis in a letter, resonating with the sentiment of millions who admired the soccer great. Accompanying the message, a local orchestra played poignant melodies, creating a serene atmosphere that reflected Pelé’s enduring impact beyond the football field.

“The memory of ‘the King of Soccer’ remains indelible in the minds of many, and it stimulates new generations to seek in sport a means to strengthen the bonds of unity among us,” the pontiff added, emphasizing Pelé’s role as a unifying figure in the world of sports.

In Santos, the city where Pelé achieved numerous milestones with his contributions to the Santos club, religious ceremonies were held at the Museu Pelé. The port city, which Pelé put on the global map with his extraordinary goals and successes, witnessed a heartfelt gathering to honor the soccer legend.

In Tres Corações, the small city where Pelé was born in 1940, local residents and dignitaries gathered for solemn ceremonies to commemorate the life of the illustrious athlete. The tributes in Pelé’s birthplace show the deep connection between the soccer legend and the community that shaped his early years.

Santos, the club that held a special place in Pelé’s heart, organized a poignant tribute at its Vila Belmiro Stadium. Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, one of Pelé’s sons, played a symbolic role by releasing 10 white balloons from the center circle, symbolizing the enduring legacy of Pelé’s iconic number. It was a touching moment that resonated with the emotional significance of the stadium, where Pelé’s funeral was held, marking the final farewell to the soccer icon.

FIFA, the international governing body of football, also joined in paying respects to Pelé. A video showcasing highlights of Pelé’s remarkable career was accompanied by a heartfelt message: “Pelé’s legacy will always live on.” The global football community united in acknowledging the unparalleled achievements of the only man to win the World Cup three times, leaving an indelible mark on the sport.

As Brazil and the world reflected on the first anniversary of Pelé’s passing, these tributes served as points out the enduring impact of a sporting legend whose legacy goes the boundaries of time and continues to inspire generations to come.

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