Football: Pele to have urinary tract surgery in Brazil, says hospital

Pele arrives back in Brazil after medical treatment in France.
Pele arrives back in Brazil after medical treatment in France.PHOTO: AFP

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Pele will have an operation to remove a "ureteral stone,"  his doctors said on Wednesday (April 10), a day after the football great returned to Brazil following treatment in a Paris hospital for an infection.

The 78-year-old was admitted to the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo for more tests after arriving in Brazil early on Tuesday.

“The tests show the presence of stones in the left ureter and their removal is scheduled during the current hospital stay, but still without a defined date,” the hospital said in a statement.

“The patient is in a stable condition and good general state from a clinical point of view.” 

Pele, who is widely considered to be the greatest footballer in history, was discharged late on Monday from the private American hospital in the Paris suburbs where he had been taken after falling ill following an appearance at a promotional event with France striker Kylian Mbappe.

In a statement on Monday on the Globoesporte.com site, Pele said he had required “medical assistance and surgery” for a “severe urinary infection.” 

Pele, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and perhaps most memorably in Mexico in 1970 when his swashbuckling team re-defined modern football, has had several health scares in recent years.

On Wednesday, legendary Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona wished Pele well on Instagram, posting a picture of the two football greats in 1979.

"This picture is 40 years old today. It was taken in Rio de Janeiro, when we met each other in person. How young we were... I wish you a very speedy recovery, King @Pele," said the Argentine great, currently the coach of Mexican second-division club Dorados.

The picture shows an 18-year-old Maradona, his face aglow, watching Pele, then 38, play the guitar.

The two players are often cited as rivals for the title of greatest footballer of all time, fuelling the larger and never-ending rivalry between Brazil and Argentina.

Pele, the only footballer to win three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), has suffered from increasingly fragile health in recent years.

In 2014, he was hospitalised in intensive care for another urinary tract infection, for which he had to undergo dialysis.