BET ” DAY
“It was Pelé who made me fall in love with football,” says Alipio Bedaque, 66, one of the many admirers of the “King” who came to pay homage to him in front of the Sao Paulo hospital where the Brazilian died Thursday at the age of 82.
Located at the top of a hill, in the well-to-do district of Morumbi, the Albert Einstein hospital center quickly attracted admirers of the legend of the round ball, who came after the announcement of the death of Pelé who struggled for more than a year. against colon cancer.
Faced with the shock of the death of the only footballer to have won the World Cup three times (1958, 1962 and 1970), some admirers hugged.  ;
“I was not yet born when he played for Santos, but the first name I knew was Pelé, the best player of all time”, says, visibly moved, Luis Eduardo, 12, dressed of a jersey of the Spanish club Barcelona.
“It's very sad,” he says. After learning of the legendary Brazilian's death on social media, young Louis Eduardo ran with his father Antonio to the hospital whose doors were, as they had been for several days, locked and guarded by private guards. < /p>
Covered with a glass dome, the entrance to the hospital center continued, however, despite the announcement of the disappearance of Pelé, to receive patients and visitors.
Outside, admirers held up a banner that read: “Eternal King Pelé”.
“Imagine, he is the greatest idol, the best player of all time, an international benchmark,” says Antonio, a 46-year-old businessman.
With his son, he had gone to the hospital center in recent days because another of his sons had been operated on there. He hoped with his children to have the chance to see the Brazilian star.
“I always wanted to be near him and have my picture taken”, says Luis Eduardo.
'You were only looking at Pelé'
Pelé, real name Edson Arantes do Nascimento, died surrounded by family members on Thursday afternoon, a months after being hospitalized. He died “due to multiple organ failure due to the progression of his colon cancer,” the hospital said.
Hearing the news, Alipio Bedaque, a 66-year-old consultant, rushed to the hospital, not without having first put on a special piece of clothing: a replica of the jersey of Pelé's historic team, Santos FC, scratched black and white and dating from 1956, the year of his debut.
The man remembers perfectly the times he saw on the pitch at Santos.
“What was happening was you weren’t seeing the other players, you were just looking at Pelé and what he was doing,” recalls Alipio Bedaque, attributing to the star the “responsibility” of his passion for football.
The city of Santos, cradle of the career of the former Brazilian crack, in the state of Sao Paulo (southeast), decreed an official mourning of seven days.
“His death is not limited to that of a famous player”, continues Alipio Bedaque. “For the past 40 years, he has been a great global icon beyond the sport he practiced”.