SAO PAULO (AFP) - Brazilian soccer legend Pele is recovering well from a kidney ailment, officials said Wednesday, but it is unclear when he can leave the Sao Paulo hospital treating him.
The three-time world champion was hospitalised nine days ago with a suspected urinary tract infection requiring antibiotics, but is now making good progress, said the Albert Einstein Hospital, which suspended renal assistance Sunday.
"He is doing better and (remains) in semi-intensive care. Results from clinical and lab tests from this morning are good and show the patient does not require renal assistance," it said.
"He does not have fever, is able to walk around his room and is spending the bulk of the day sitting up in an armchair. He is eating well," added the clinic, saying Pele's blood flow and breathing were also not a problem, although it could did not indicate a release date for the 74-year-old.
Last Thursday, the hospital said the man nicknamed "O Rei" (the king) had been placed in intensive care after his condition became "clinically unstable," alarming fans, while some Brazilian media reported that Pele had the blood infection septicemia after he failed to respond to treatment.
Pele has only one kidney after the other was removed following complications from a rib injury he suffered while playing for the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, his agent Jose "Pepito" Fornos told AFP over the weekend.
Pele underwent kidney stone surgery in the same clinic on Nov 13 and was discharged two days later.
But barely a week later, he was back again after complaining of abdominal pain.
A posse of journalists was camped outside the hospital keen to feed every piece of news to avid audiences about the man named athlete of the 20th century by the International Olympic Committee in 1999 and who helped Brazil to world titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Widely regarded as the best footballer of all time, Pele made his name with Santos and at just 17 won his first World Cup, scoring twice in the final win over hosts Sweden.
He was injured early on in 1962 but scored in Brazil's 1970 final win over Italy.
Pele, who ended his career with a spell in the then embryonic US league with the New York Cosmos, scored 77 goals in 91 games for Brazil and 1,281 in his career.