Football: Pele improving but still on dialysis - hospital

Brazilian football legend Pele poses with the Fifa Football World Cup trophy on March 9, 2014 in Paris. Pele's health is improving, but he is still receiving an intensive kidney treatment for a urinary infection, the hospital treating him said F
Brazilian football legend Pele poses with the Fifa Football World Cup trophy on March 9, 2014 in Paris. Pele's health is improving, but he is still receiving an intensive kidney treatment for a urinary infection, the hospital treating him said Friday. -- PHOTO: AFP

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Brazil football legend Pele's health is improving, but he is still receiving an intensive kidney treatment for a urinary infection, the hospital treating him said Friday.

Pele, 74, "is in better clinical condition," said the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, adding that he was "lucid" and breathing on his own but still undergoing a procedure that involves filtering a patient's blood through an artificial kidney that cleans it before returning it to the body.

The hospital said the measure was a "temporary kidney support" and that no other treatment was currently required.

Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time.

He was admitted to hospital Monday, diagnosed with a urinary infection and given intravenous antibiotics.

After the hospital said Thursday that he had been placed in intensive care, he took to Facebook and Twitter to insist that he was fine and had simply been moved to another room for more privacy.

"I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I am doing fine," he wrote.

"I am blessed to receive your love and support, and thank God this is nothing serious.

"I was simply relocated to a special room within the hospital for privacy purposes only. While I appreciate all the visitors that came to see me, I really need to continue my treatment and recovery in peace."

He said he would spend the upcoming holidays with family and looked forward to beginning 2015 "with renewed health," adding he had "many international trips already planned."

His agent Jose Fornos said that the star was tired after receiving too many visits, and added that his treatment "could go on for eight days."

RECENT SURGERY

Pele underwent surgery for kidney stones at the same hospital on Nov 13.

He had to cancel an appearance at his museum in Santos, on the coast near Sao Paulo, on Nov 12 as he began showing symptoms of the illness.

And he was also forced to miss a gathering of members of the Brazil team that won the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, who had come together to mark the 45th anniversary of his 1,000th career goal.

But he appeared to be in good humour when he was released from hospital two days later, joking with journalists: "I am ready to play tomorrow."

Nicknamed O Rei (The King), Pele was born in a humble home in the city of Tres Coracoes and exploded into Brazilian football as a young phenom with a singular talent for the national game.

He won his first World Cup aged just 17, scoring twice in the 1958 final win over hosts Sweden.

He would go on to score a total of 77 goals in 91 games for his country across a remarkable career.

In 1977, he inspired New York Cosmos to the US national title in his final season with the club, which also featured fellow greats Franz Beckenbauer, Italian striker Giorgio Chinaglia and former Brazil captain Carlos Alberto.

Beckenbauer wished his former teammate well Friday on Twitter.

"I hope my friend @Pele is getting better soon. I pray for him!" he said.

Pele, the only player to win three World Cup titles, was named the athlete of the century by the International Olympic Committee in 1999.