Brazil pays tribute to Carlos Alberto

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Hundreds of people including Brazilian football greats gathered Wednesday at a Rio de Janeiro cemetery to pay their last respects to “eternal captain” Carlos Alberto, skipper of the 1970 World Cup champions.

Crowds of fans decked out in Brazilian yellow and green swarmed Carlos Alberto’s casket as it was carried into Iraja cemetery, in a working-class neighborhood on the city’s north side.

Carlos Alberto, who led a legendary team including Pele to the 1970 World Cup and scored one of the competition’s best-ever goals, died Tuesday of a heart attack. He was 72.

After a 12-hour wake at the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation, his coffin — draped in a Brazilian flag and covered in flowers — was loaded onto a fire engine and transported to the cemetery, where more than 300 fans were waiting.

“Rest in peace, captain,” said a large sign held up by one mourner dressed in the colors of Fluminense, the Rio club where Carlos Alberto launched his career.

The national anthem was played as the casket arrived, concluding with a long salvo of applause.

The burial brought together fans with family members and football greats such as Cafu — who, like Carlos Alberto, was a right-back and captain of a World Cup-winning squad, in 2002.

“He was our eternal captain, he was our reference, on and off the pitch,” Cafu told Brazilian news site UOL, calling him “one of the best of all time.”

Carlos Alberto’s son Alexandre Torres wore a Brazil jersey with a photo of his father celebrating his iconic goal in the World Cup final against Italy in Mexico City in 1970 — the one that sealed Brazil’s 4-1 win and third world title.

Also at the wake were Brito, Carlos Alberto’s teammate from the 1970 squad, and Tite, the current coach of Brazil.

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