The Rio de Janeiro state legislature voted on Thursday to change the official title of the stadium to to the Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Rei Pele stadium.
The iconic Maracana stadium in Brazil is set to be renamed to honour the county’s most celebrated footballer Pele.
The bill now goes to interim governor Claudio Castro, who has 15 days to decide whether to sign it into law.
‘It is a worthy homage to a man who is recognized the world over for his legacy in Brazilian football and for the corresponding services rendered to our country,’ the deputy responsible for the project said. ‘Rei’ means ‘king’ in Portuguese.
But some fans are not happy because Pele never played for its local teams and he does not hail from Rio de Janeiro.
The stadium, host of the final match in the 1950 and 2014 World Cup tournaments, as well as the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics, has long been named after Mario Filho, a journalist who lobbied for its construction in the 1940s.
The 80-year-old, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, played at the stadium many times for Brazil and scored his 1,000th goal there.
Most Brazilians call it simply the Maracana, after the neighborhood in which it is located.
The Rio state governor must give the go-ahead to the name change, which was not met with universal acclaim by soccer fans.