Rio’s Maracana Stadium to be renamed in honour of Pele

rfi.fr- Rio de Janeiro city leaders have given their backing for the legendary Maracana Stadium to be renamed after Pele – the country’s most fabled footballer.

If the Rio state governor allows the move, the 78,000 seat arena will be called Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Rei Pele Stadium.

Pele, who celebrated his 80th birthday last October, scored his 1,000th senior goal at the venue on 19 November 1969 while playing for Santos against Vasco de Gama.

“This is a worthy tribute to a man recognised worldwide for his legacy to Brazilian soccer and for his services to the country,” said the Rio city deputy in charge of the project.”

The Maracana, which hosted the 1950 and 2014 World Cup finals, also celebrated the opening of the 2016 Olympic Games.

It was named Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho in 1966 after the death of the Brazilian sports reporter who pushed for its construction in 1940.

Brazilians commonly call it the Maracana – the district of Rio where it is located.

Though the stadium will bear Pele’s name, the entire surrounding sports complex will continue to pay tribute to Filho.

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