Lula, who took office on Sunday, is expected in the city of Santos, in the south-east of the country, to "pay tribute to Pelé and in solidarity with his family" at 09:00 local time (12:00 GMT), an hour before the end of the funeral wake started 24 hours earlier.

Then the funeral procession will cross Santos and pass in particular in front of the house of Pelé's mother, Celeste Arantes.

Aged 100 but suffering from cognitive disorders, she is unaware of the death of her son.

The remains of Pelé will then be taken to his final resting place, a mausoleum specially erected in a cemetery, for a Catholic rite ceremony in strict family intimacy.

On Monday, thousands of fans and football dignitaries, including FIFA President Gianni Infantino, gathered in front of the black coffin of Pelé installed in the center of the stadium of FC Santos, the club where he played from 1956 to 1974.

"If I said I didn't cry when he died, I would be lying," he told AFP.

"Pelé taught us so many things. Not just in Brazil, but in the whole world".

Tributes have poured in from around the world since his death, with football's biggest names, current and former, hailing his genius for the "beautiful game".

Moving tribute

Inside the stadium, fans of Pelé marched all day Monday slowly and calmly to the large white awning where the coffin is displayed.

The last tributes to Pelé © / AFP

Arriving early, Pele's third wife, Marcia Cibela Aoki, dressed in black and in tears, ran her hand over the head of the footballer she married in 2016. Three of Pele's six surviving children were in attendance.

She also placed a rosary in her coffin draped with the flags of FC Santos and Brazil.

Relatives paid a moving tribute to him, holding hands around his coffin in prayer.

Dozens of wreaths, sent by football personalities like Paris star SG Neymar or foreign clubs like Real Madrid, were placed around the coffin.

He "has inspired all generations, he has always been a reference", said the father of Neymar, the current number 10 of the Seleçao retained in Paris who equalized the number of goals of Pelé in the national team (77) during the recent World Cup in Qatar.

In the 16,000-seat Vila Belmiro stadium, three giant banners placed in the stands show Pelé from behind with his famous number 10 flocked jersey, and two others with the inscription "Vive le roi" and "Pelé 82 years old".

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé, spent a month in Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo until his death on Thursday at age 82 from kidney and heart failure, bronchopneumonia and adenocarcinoma of the colon, according to the death certificate published by local media.

Until the end he remained active on social media, encouraging Brazil from his hospital bed during the World Cup in Qatar, consoling the seleçao after their defeat in the quarter-finals, three weeks before his death.

© 2023 AFP