Brazil’s emblematic Maracana stadium is to be called after the country’s legendary footballer Pele. This was inducted to honor the epic footballer.
The initiative accompanies a vote by the Rio de Janeiro state legislature to change the venue’s name to the Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Rei Pele stadium. The name Rei which means king in Portuguese was prefixed to his name to denote his Kingship in football. The 80-year-old’s full name is
Edson Arantes do Nascimento Pele. The decision is waiting for the approval of Rio de Janeiro’s state governor.
Pele, the winner of three World Cups as a player for Brazil has secured his 1,000th goal at the same stadium in 1969 while playing for Santos against Vasco da Gama.
The Maracana witnessed the 1950 and 2014 World Cup finals, and also the kickoff ceremony of the 2016 Olympics. In 1950, in the final match of Uruguay versus Brazil, more than 200,000 viewers present in the stadium, despite the capacity of accomodating 78,838 people.
Earlier, it was named after Mario Filho, a journalist who was the backbone for its construction in the 1940s but was known as the Maracana, the name of the river in whose bank the area is located.
The new name has initiated controversy from the family of the late Mario Filho, as well as historians and football fans.
Filho was a sports journalist and writer, was born in Rio. Filho was recognized as the main incentive behind the concept of Brazil to construct the biggest stadium in the world and for that stadium to be located in Maracana.
“It is a worthy homage to a man who has recognized the world over for his legacy in Brazilian football and the corresponding services rendered to our country,” the deputy responsible for the project said.
According to some groups, Mario Filho was more deserving to be honored, whereas others claimed that any new honouree should be from Rio — unlike Pele, who was born in Minas Gerais state and spent most of his life in the state of Sao Paulo.