Pele 'fine', allays health concerns

Many of Pele's most recent public appearances have been in a wheelchair.
Many of Pele's most recent public appearances have been in a wheelchair. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

RIO DE JANEIRO • Brazil football legend Pele dismissed talk he is depressed and reclusive on Thursday and assured fans he is doing well and maintaining a busy schedule.

Pele's son Edinho told sports website Globoesporte.com on Monday that the three-time World Cup winner was depressed and reluctant to leave his house because he cannot walk properly due to hip problems.

"Thanks for your prayers and your worry. I am doing fine, I am good," said Pele, who will be 80 in October. "I continue to accept my physical limitations in the best way possible but I intend to keep the ball rolling. I have good days and bad days. That is normal for people of my age.

"I am not afraid, I am determined, confident in what I do."

Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers in history. He is the only player to win three World Cups - in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

He has been in and out of hospital in recent years for various health issues and never fully recovered from one of his hip operations, leaving him dependent on a walker, according to Edinho.

Many of his most recent public appearances have been in a wheelchair. He also has only one kidney, after a broken rib during a match forced doctors to remove the other.

However, friends of the former Santos and New York Cosmos player said last month was one of his busiest in years.

He did photos shoots and sponsorship work and he is cooperating with a British director making a documentary about his footballing life.

"I am not avoiding fulfilling the commitments in my always busy schedule," Pele said in his statement.

This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of his third World Cup title, won in Mexico with what many rate the greatest Brazil team of all time.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2020, with the headline 'Pele 'fine', allays health concerns'. Print Edition | Subscribe