Plans to erect a statue of Brazil legend Pele at the Maracana Stadium ahead of next month’s FIFA World Cup have been abandoned, confirmed the artist who was commissioned to create the masterpiece.
Renowned Brazilian artist Ique had crafted the life-size statue specifically for the tournament, and the bronze masterpiece was due to appear in the Rio stadium for the final. However, continued delays now mean that the bronze item, which weighs an incredible 300 kilograms, can no longer take stage at the stadium in which Pele had scored his 1,000th career goal.
The piece, which is based on one of Pele’s four goals during Brazil’s 1970 triumph in Mexico, had originally been due for installation last year.
However, as per the Times of India, the artist concedes it will not be ready for the tournament. Ique said:
Pele had just had hip surgery so the inauguration was pushed back from December 2013 to March 2014. Then in March the state secretary for sport who commissioned the project (Marcia Lins) left her job. Since then, I haven't heard anything.
The project's been politically abandoned. It shows a lack of respect for me and for Pele.
This news is just the latest episode in a long list of failures during Brazil’s preparations for the June 12 start. Mass protests, stadium delays and worker deaths have all contributed to major disruptions—something which has led to the 73-year-old unleashing a scathing attack on the tournament’s organisers, as reported by Paul Collins in the Daily Mail.
The Maracana will host a total of seven matches during the World Cup, including the showpiece final on July 13.