SAO PAULO: Brazilian football great Pele downplayed his latest health issue Thursday after he was hospitalized to undergo chemotherapy for a colon tumour, saying he would be there for just “a few days.”
“I have been having small chemotherapy sessions as part of my treatment. Today I’m at Albert Einstein (hospital) doing the last session of 2021,” the 81-year-old legend wrote on Instagram.
“I wanted to share this achievement with you. After all, every little victory is a reason to celebrate,” he wrote from the Sao Paulo hospital.
“I’m going to take this chance to do a new battery of exams, so I’m going to stay here for a few days. Don’t worry, I’m just getting ready for the holiday season!”
Pele underwent surgery for the tumour on September 4, spending a month in the hospital before being released to continue chemotherapy.
It is the latest in a string of health troubles for the ageing star, whose public appearances have grown increasingly rare.
Considered by many the greatest footballer of all time, Edson Arantes do Nascimento — Pele’s real name — is the only player in history to win three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970).
He burst onto the global stage at just 17 by scoring dazzling goals, including two in the final against hosts Sweden, as Brazil won the World Cup for the first time in 1958.
“O Rei” (The King) went on to have one of the most storied careers in sport, scoring more than 1,000 goals before retiring in 1977.