FIFA President Gianni Infantino responds to criticism after he was pictured taking a selfie at Pele’s funeral as thousands line the streets to pay their respects to the Brazil icon
Gianni Infantino has defended himself after he was pictured taking a selfie at Pele’s funeral in Brazil, claiming he was asked by one of his former teammates.
The FIFA president was on hand as football fans around the world paid tribute to the Brazilian legend after his death at the age of 82.
Infantino took a photo on the day of Pelé’s funeral in Brazil[/caption]
However, the FIFA president defended himself in a long post on Instagram[/caption]
With the image appearing to take place next to Pele’s coffin, this led to criticism, to which Infantino was quick to respond.
Taking to Instagram, Infantino wrote: “I have just landed from my trip to Brazil where I had the privilege of participating in the beautiful tribute to Pelé that took place in Vila Belmiro, Santos. I am appalled after being informed that I am apparently being criticized by some people for taking a selfie and photos at yesterday’s ceremony.
“I would like to say that I was both honored and touched that teammates and family members of the great Pelé asked me if I could take some pictures with them. And of course I immediately accepted.
“In the case of the selfie, Pelé’s teammates asked to take a selfie of us all together but they didn’t know how to do it. So to be helpful I took the phone off of one of them and took the picture of all of us for him. If being useful to a Pelé team-mate creates criticism, I’m happy to take it on and will continue to be useful wherever I can to those who have helped write legendary pages in football.
“I have so much respect and admiration for Pelé and for that ceremony yesterday that I would never do anything that would be disrespectful in any way.
“I hope that those who have posted or said things without knowing it and without seeking information can have the decency and the courage to admit that they were wrong and to correct what they said.
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“The most important thing in all cases is to pay tribute to King Pelé, and although I have humbly suggested that among our 211 member associations at least one football stadium or venue bears his name, we will set an example by giving the pitch in our headquarters the name ‘Estádio Pelé – FIFA Zürich’.”
Recognized as arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Pele’s funeral saw thousands of fans march through the streets of Santos, Brazil to honor him.
As football fans around the world paid tribute to the legendary figure, those in the hometown of his former club, Santos, had the special honor of witnessing his dismissal.
Pele lay in the state and the Urbano Caldeira de Santos stadium for the public to pay their respects, with 230,000 people in attendance, before his coffin was carried through the streets on Tuesday.
Transported in a fire engine to a private family funeral, Pele’s coffin was draped in a Brazilian flag and also passed the house where his 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, still lives.
The procession ended at the Port City Memorial Cemetery where a private Catholic funeral service was held before Pelé was buried in a 10-storey mausoleum which holds the Guinness World Record as the highest cemetery in the Earth.
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