Gianni Infantino, the contemplation of shame

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Outrage on social networks and in the world press. Brazilian fans and general football enthusiasts were quick to point out the nonchalant behavior of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who traveled to Brazil to pay his last respects to Pelé during the funeral at the Vila Belmiro de Santos stadium, named after Urbano Caldera. Died on December 29, 2022 at the age of 82, the three-time world champion was a national icon who was entitled to an impressive national mourning in Brazil for several days, especially in the city of Sao Paulo with all his achievements. But the final moments of this celebration were disrupted and spoiled by Gianni Infantino.

But his symbolic visit was an opportunity to launch a proposal to the 200 existing national football associations, the creation of a Pelé stadium in each country: “Pelé is eternal. FIFA will pay tribute to the king. We asked all confederations in the world to observe a minute’s silence before the matches. And what I can tell you is that we will ask the confederations, 211 countries in total, to rename a stadium in Pelé’s name. That in every country in the world there is a stadium in Pelé’s name. Future generations must remember Pelé”. But this proposal, criticized especially in Argentina, where the cult of Maradona is stronger, has definitely gone into the background, ridiculed, mocked because it is overwhelmed by critics for the overly relaxed shots next to the corpse of O Rei.

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Scandalous pictures

The boss of world football’s highest body had been among the first to intervene at the funeral, but some of his views were noted and criticized during his visit to the Santos stadium. Selfies smiling with some of those present a few meters from the body of the Brazilian champion, as well as a long series of interviews in the area where the body of Pelé had been revealed, were very poorly seen in Brazil. Worse still, in these photos that are causing a lot of ink to flow, we can see Pelé’s sister meditating while the FIFA president held out a mobile phone to take a selfie with a man. In another photo, another man stopped to ask for a picture with Infantino – who agreed without hesitation.

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As he stood by the coffin, he was also seen comforting Pele’s widow, Marcia Aoki, and her son Edinho, as he shook hands with others standing under the canopy as he sported a big smile. Attending the 24-hour vigil with the leaders of the South American and Brazilian football federations, Gianni Infantino has been widely accused of wanting to be the center of attention, to attract all the spotlight of the event without respecting the meditations, prayers or the strong emotions during this shift.

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