SANTOS, Brazil (AFP) - Brazilian football legend Pele on Sunday opened a museum housing items from his stellar career in the port city of Santos where he made his name.
“I thank God he granted me health to be able to receive this honour today,” said the 73-year-old, christened Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
He arrived in Santos aged 15 to play for the local team and became a sporting legend, winning his first World Cup at just 17.“I don’t want to talk much or I shall start crying,” said three-time world champion Pele as he opened the museum.
Several government ministers were on hand for the ceremony while President Dilma Rousseff, who had initially hoped to attend, sent a video address.
“He is our top star. He deserves to be recognised and his accomplishments immortalised,” said Rousseff.
The museum in Pele’s honour, was unveiled on the fourth day of the World Cup at a site formerly housing Santos town hall not far from Brazil’s main container port, which is one of Latin America’s largest.
The building will eventually showcase some 2,500 exhibits from the career of the man Brazilians know as O Rei (the king).For the opening, 165 items were on show.
They include the honorary knighthood which Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on him in 1997 and the trophy marking him out in 1981 as “Athlete of the Century” and presented by French sports newspaper L’Equipe.