Colombia’s Bello Horizonte stadium is the latest to be renamed in honour of the late Pelé following this week’s suggestion from FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
The 15,000-capacity stadium in Villavicencio will become Bello Horizonte “Rey Pelé” according to Juan Guillermo Zuluaga, the governor of the Meta department where the city is located. The stadium, which opened in 1958 and recently underwent modernisation, is the home of second tier Categoría Primera B club Llaneros.
Zuluaga said: “From the Colombian plains, we announce to the world that our wonderful stadium in Villavicencio will be called Bello Horizonte “Rey Pelé”. The future generations should know who this icon of world football was. We have accepted FIFA’s suggestion.”
FIFA president Infantino expressed his gratitude for the initiative which followed the government of Cape Verde’s announcement on the previous day that it intended to name that country’s Estádio Nacional after Pelé, who passed away on December 29.
“Thank you, Juan Guillermo Zuluaga and the government of Meta department, for this beautiful tribute to the eternal King Pelé,” said Infantino.
Infantino made his suggestion while attending a memorial for Pelé in Santos, Brazil, on January 2. He said it would ensure that future generations around the world would know about Pelé and what he did for football.
FIFA has already decided to name the pitch at the Home of FIFA “Estádio Pelé – FIFA Zürich”.