FIFA president Gianni Infantino insisted Wednesday that he would never be disrespectful to Pelé as he came under fire over a photo call at the Brazilian legend’s wake.
The Swiss said he took the photo as Pelé’s friends seemed unable to operate their mobile phones.
“I took the phone of one of them and took the photo of all of us for him”, Infantino explained.
“If being helpful to a teammate of Pelé creates criticism, I’m happy to take it and will continue to be helpful wherever I can to those having contributed to writing legendary pages of football.
“I have so much respect and admiration for Pelé and for that ceremony yesterday that I would never do anything that would be disrespectful in any way whatsoever”, Infantino said.
Brazil gave Pelé a powerful send-off starting with a day-long wake at the Santos Stadium.
Santos said that more than 230,000 people had attended its 24-hour wake in the Vila Belmiro stadium.
At the funeral a more sombre tone was set as Pelé’s tearful widow Marcia Cibele Aoki was embraced by the equally moved newly-sworn in president Lula.
Pelé died Thursday at age 82 after a battle with cancer.