The Brazilian Santos paid a new tribute this Saturday to the late Edson Arantes do Nascimento ‘Pelé’ at Vila Belmira, the stadium where the three-time world champion was born as a star and where the players wore for the first time the shirt with the new shield design, inspired by ‘O Rei’.
The commemoration took place minutes before the start of the match between Santos and Mirassol for the first day of the group stage of the Paulista Championship, the most important regional tournament in Brazil.
Pelé, considered by many to be the best soccer player of all time and who died on December 29 at the age of 82 in a Sao Paulo hospital after complications from cancer, has been the club’s greatest idol.
The shirt that the Santos players wear starting this Saturday sports a shield that is now accompanied by a crown.
The new design of the club’s emblem represents the world titles won by Santos in 1962 and 1963, when Pelé led the São Paulo team.
The numbering of all the players was also changed on the shirts used this Saturday, so that the sum of the digits always equals 10as another way to eternalize the idol.
Thus, Maicon, who normally wears the 2 today, was identified as the 8+2 and the goalkeeper Joao Paulo, who is identified with the 37, today wore the 3+7.
A gigantic crown was placed on a throne in the center of the Vila Belmiro pitch and huge banners with images of the ‘King’ of football fThey were spread out along the grass while the fans cheered and applauded the three-time champion in a packed stadium.