Brazil’s iconic Maracana stadium is to be named in honour of the country’s legendary footballer Pele.
The move follows a vote by the Rio de Janeiro state legislature to change the venue’s name to the Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Rei Pele stadium. Edson Arantes do Nascimento is the 80-year-old’s full name, while Rei means king in Portuguese. The Rio de Janeiro’s state governor must approve the name change before it becomes official. Pele, who won three World Cups as a player for Brazil, scored his 1,000th goal at the stadium in 1969 when playing for Santos against Vasco da Gama. The Maracana held the 1950 and 2014 World Cup finals, as well as the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics. More than 200,000 spectators are reported to have been in the stadium to watch Uruguay beat Brazil in the 1950 final, although its capacity is now 78,838. It was named after Mario Filho, a journalist who lobbied for its construction in the 1940s, but was known as the Maracana after the area in which it is located.