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Irish Independent
Irish Independent

FIFA supremo Gianni Infantino takes selfie in front of Pele’s open casket

FIFA president Gianni Infantino takes a selfie, and Pele's daughter, Kelly Cristina Nascimento is pictured with mourners as the body of Brazilian soccer legend Pele is seen in his casket, as he lays in state on the pitch of his former club Santos' Vila Belmiro stadium

Gianni Infantino has been criticised for taking a selfie in front of Brazil legend Pele’s open casket.

The FIFA supremo took out a camera phone in front to snap himself with three other men as mourners gathered to pay their final respects to Pele. 

The controversial moment, which has been widely criticised on social media, came just hours after he bizarrely called on every nation in the world to name a football stadium after Pele in tribute to the Brazilian legend.

"We are here to pay homage to him, and we are talking with all the federations to observe a moment of silence for Pele," said Infantino, on a visit to Santos to attend the three-time World Cup winner's memorial at his former club. "But we are also talking to every country in the world about having a football stadium named after Pele.

"In 50 or 100 years, when a child asks, 'Who was Pele?' then we will be able to remember him. In the place where he used to score his goals, we see the emotions of football. We have to make sure this happens."

It would be an unprecedented commemoration of any player, even one of Pele's exalted standing, giving the impression that Infantino had - not for the first time in recent weeks - over-exaggerated for public effect.

"Pele has a unique legacy," Infantino argued. "He received a gift from God, a gift that very few people on Earth have, which is to touch people's hearts and emotions. The fact is, there are many people around the world, millions, billions, who like me have never seen him play, but who are thinking about and honouring him.

"Of course, I was lucky enough to meet him in person, but I didn't see him play. It was my father who spoke so many times to him about me.

"The legacy that he leaves behind is singular. He was the first in the world to do many things that 99 per cent of players can only dream about, and maybe the other one per cent can only do some of the things he did.

"We will hold him in our hearts, and we will also ensure that the world of football remembers him forever."

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