New Brazilian President Lula joins thousands paying their respects to Pele at stadium funeral

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Pele’s coffin has been cheered along the streets of Santos after being carried out of his beloved stadium as thousands of mourners including new president Lula came to pay their respects to the Brazilian footballing icon. 

Throngs of fans, bikers and drivers honked their horns and tried to touch the fire engine carrying the coffin during the procession from the Vila Belmiro stadium to the burial site, passing the beach and the house of Pele’s 100-year-old mother.

The new president and his first lady, Rosangela ‘Janja’ da Silva, were visibly moved at the open casket service earlier this morning and paused before the coffin draped in the flags of Brazil and Santos, and embraced Pele’s grieving widow, while a minute’s silence for the triple World Cup winner was also held.

Before today’s procession and service, an estimated 230,000 people stood in hours-long queues to visit his open casket following the death of one of the world’s greatest ever footballers aged 82 on December 29 after a long battle with cancer.

New Brazilian President Lula joins thousands paying their respects to Pele at stadium funeral

Pele’s coffin has been cheered along the streets of Santos after being carried out of his beloved Santos stadium

Throngs of fans, bikers and drivers honked their horns and tried to touch the fire engine carrying the black coffin

Throngs of fans, bikers and drivers honked their horns and tried to touch the fire engine carrying the black coffin

Pele's coffin has been carried out of his beloved Santos stadium after thousands of mourners including new president Lula came to pay their respects

Pele’s coffin has been carried out of his beloved Santos stadium after thousands of mourners including new president Lula came to pay their respects

Pictured: Brazil 's new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva comforts Pele's widow at the footballing stars wake in Santos, Brazil on Tuesday

Pictured: Brazil ‘s new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva comforts Pele’s widow at the footballing stars wake in Santos, Brazil on Tuesday

The black coffin was draped in the flags of Brazil and Santos as it was carried on the back of a fire truck through the streets

The black coffin was draped in the flags of Brazil and Santos as it was carried on the back of a fire truck through the streets 

Tens of thousands of fans, political leaders and football dignitaries including FIFA president Gianni Infantino have filed through the stadium since the wake began Monday morning

Tens of thousands of fans, political leaders and football dignitaries including FIFA president Gianni Infantino have filed through the stadium since the wake began Monday morning

Fans threw white petals during the emotional procession through the streets of his boyhood club Santos

Fans threw white petals during the emotional procession through the streets of his boyhood club Santos

Lula and First Lady Rosangela "Janja" da Silva paused before Pele's coffin and embraced his widow and other family members

Lula and First Lady Rosangela ‘Janja’ da Silva paused before Pele’s coffin and embraced his widow and other family members

Lula, who took office Sunday in a ceremony that started with a minute's silence for Pele, travelled to the southeastern city of Santos to pay his respects to family and friends

Lula, who took office Sunday in a ceremony that started with a minute’s silence for Pele, travelled to the southeastern city of Santos to pay his respects to family and friends

Fans pack the streets and hold up Pele football shirts to pay tribute to their iconic star

Fans pack the streets and hold up Pele football shirts to pay tribute to their iconic star

More than 150,000 people including President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva paid their respects to the Brazilian soccer great Pele in the coastal city of Santos

More than 150,000 people including President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva paid their respects to the Brazilian soccer great Pele in the coastal city of Santos

Pele's coffin was carried out of the stadium this morning by pallbearers dressed in black

Pele’s coffin was carried out of the stadium this morning by pallbearers dressed in black

The casket was draped in the flags of Santos and Brazil as it was carried through the thronging crowd in Santos today

The casket was draped in the flags of Santos and Brazil as it was carried through the thronging crowd in Santos today

Mourners began paying their respects to Pele in a solemn procession past his coffin at the Vila Belmiro Stadium in his home town of Santos on Monday.

Pele’s coffin was placed on the Santos field where he scored scored some of the best goals of his career. Thousands of mourners draped in Pele shirts and flags walked past his casket in the 16,000-seat stadium outside Sao Paulo.

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Vila Belmiro was decorated with Brazilian flags and No 10 shirts that became popular after Pele started wearing them for Santos and Brazil.

The stands filled up with bouquets of flowers placed by mourners and sent by clubs and star players – Neymar and Ronaldo among them – from around the world as loudspeakers played a song named Eu Sou Pele (I Am Pele) that was recorded by the Brazilian himself.

Fans waited in three-hour queues snaking around the Urbano Caldeira stadium to see his coffin on the centre circle of the pitch. 

The black coffin was carried outside the stadium on a small vehicle before it was transferred to a fire truck for the procession

The black coffin was carried outside the stadium on a small vehicle before it was transferred to a fire truck for the procession

Pelé will be buried Tuesday in the city where he grew up, became famous, and helped make into a global capital of football

Pelé will be buried Tuesday in the city where he grew up, became famous, and helped make into a global capital of football

Mass was celebrated at the Vila Belmiro stadium before his casket was ushered through the streets of Santos to a nearby cemetery

Mass was celebrated at the Vila Belmiro stadium before his casket was ushered through the streets of Santos to a nearby cemetery

The funeral procession through Santos will go past the house of Pele's mother, 100-year-old Celeste Arantes, who is still alive

The funeral procession through Santos will go past the house of Pele’s mother, 100-year-old Celeste Arantes, who is still alive

Brazil's new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (pictured centre) visited Pele's open casket on Tuesday, as one of his first actions as the country's new head of state

Brazil’s new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (pictured centre) visited Pele’s open casket on Tuesday, as one of his first actions as the country’s new head of state

The Brazilian star died on December 29 at the age of 82 after a long battle with cancer, and was mourned on Monday and Tuesday at the stadium of his long-time club Santos, where thousands of people arrived to bid him farewell. Pictured: Pele's son Edinho is pictured with mourners as the body of Brazilian soccer legend Pele is seen in his casket, as he lays in state on the pitch of his former club Santos' Vila Belmiro stadium

The Brazilian star died on December 29 at the age of 82 after a long battle with cancer, and was mourned on Monday and Tuesday at the stadium of his long-time club Santos, where thousands of people arrived to bid him farewell. Pictured: Pele’s son Edinho is pictured with mourners as the body of Brazilian soccer legend Pele is seen in his casket, as he lays in state on the pitch of his former club Santos’ Vila Belmiro stadium

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Football fans line up to attend the funeral of the late Brazilian soccer legend Pele at the Vila Belmiro stadium in Santos, Brazil, early Tuesday, January 3

Football fans line up to attend the funeral of the late Brazilian soccer legend Pele at the Vila Belmiro stadium in Santos, Brazil, early Tuesday, January 3

Pictured: Pele of Brazil celebrates the victory after winnings the 1970 World Cup in Mexico

Pictured: Pele of Brazil celebrates the victory after winnings the 1970 World Cup in Mexico

Pele will be taken to the burial at a nearby cemetery for close friends and family at 5pm.

The triple World Cup winner reportedly chose a special mausoleum at a burial site on the ninth floor of a nearby cemetery which will allow him to watch over the stadium.

Former Brazil midfielder Ze Roberto and Pele’s son Edinho were among those who placed his coffin on the pitch during a ceremony before fans and well-wishers were allowed to pay their respects.

Brazil’s government had declared three days of national mourning after Pele’s death.

Lula took office on January 1, beginning his third term as Brazil’s president. 

One of Lula’s first decisions in office was to revoke policies of the far-right government of Jair Bolsonar that diluted environmental protection and helped contribute to deforestation that surged to a 15-year high, including a measure that encouraged mining on protected indigenous lands.

Lula also reopened the Amazon Fund.

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