FIFA President Gianni Infantino Unveils His First ‘Pele’ Stadium in Rwanda
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has unveiled his first ‘Pele’ stadium in Rwanda – and even got to play a match against the country’s president.
Infantino previously revealed that FIFA would ask every country in the world to name a stadium after the legendary Brazilian footballer.
He revealed the bizarre request after Pele died at the age of 82 back on December 29 last year.
The Pele Stadium was officially opened by Rwanda president Paul Pagame and Infantino in honour of the Brazilian icon on Wednesday.
After the unveiling the two men took to the pitch as part of the 73rd FIFA Congress Delegation Tournament.
Infantino in an all-blue strip faced a team led by the Rwanda president, in a tournament which is said to feature football legends and FIFA officials.
The Times have also revealed that a stadium has been named after Pele in the Cape Verde islands.
Speaking as Pele’s funeral began in Santos in January, Infantino said: ‘We are going to ask that all countries in the world have at least one stadium with the name of Pele.’
Infantino continued that the reason behind this idea would be ‘so that children know Pele’s importance’.
The FIFA president also recently paid tribute to Pele to open proceedings at The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony in Paris.
He said: ‘Pelé is football, Pelé is simply football. And we lost him, we miss him a lot. But Pelé is eternal, he is with us, he is always with us. He will always be with us. I would like to thank Pelé’s family for being with us here tonight. Muito obrigado pela [sua] presença. Thank you so much.’
Pele is the only player to have won the World Cup three times, lifting the trophy with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
During his more than 20 years as a professional footballer, Pele also amassed over 1,200 career goals.
Infantino’s idea to name stadiums in every country after Pele will be difficult to achieve but in Rwanda and in the Cape Verde islands he has ticked two off the board.