Brazil football legend Pele says he remains 'strong' amid cancer battle

By Reuters   December 3, 2022 | 11:42 pm PT
Brazil football legend Pele says he remains 'strong' amid cancer battle
Brazilian soccer great Pele attends a news conference to present the FIFA World Cup global "Trophy Tour" in Paris March 10, 2014. Photo by Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes
Brazilian football great Pele said on Saturday he was "strong" and grateful for the widespread support he has been receiving after being hospitalized in Sao Paulo earlier this week as he battles colon cancer.

The 82-year-old said in an Instagram post that he wanted to keep "everyone calm and positive" after a medical report showed he remained in stable condition while also being treated a respiratory infection.

"I'm strong, with a lot of hope and I follow my treatment as usual," Pele said. "I have a lot of faith in God and every message of love I receive from you all over the world keeps me full of energy."

Pele, one of the greatest footballers of all time if not the greatest, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday to re-evaluate his cancer treatment.

He had a tumor removed from his colon in September 2021 and has been receiving hospital care on a regular basis.

In a report on Saturday, medical staff at the Albert Einstein Hospital said Pele has responded well to treatment for a respiratory infection diagnosed after his hospitalization and that his condition had not worsened in the last 24 hours.

"He is still undergoing treatment and remains in stable condition," the doctors said.

The latest medical note came after newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported earlier in the day that Pele - whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento - had been receiving palliative care after chemotherapy stopped having the expected results.

The newspaper also said he had a general swelling and cardiac issues when admitted to hospital earlier this week, as previously reported by ESPN Brasil.

His manager, family members and the hospital have not confirmed that information.

On Thursday, Pele said in an Instagram post that he was at the hospital for a "monthly visit."

Pele, who played for Brazil and club sides Santos and New York Cosmos as a striker, was one of the world's best known sportsmen at his peak and is regarded as one of the best football players of all time.

He won the World Cup with Brazil three times, in 1958, 1962 and 1970 - a feat no other player has achieved. He is the all-time leading goalscorer for Brazil, with 77 goals in 92 games.

Messages of support came in from players and fans at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

French striker Kylian Mbappe tweeted, "Pray for the King."

England captain Harry Kane said the whole national team wished him well.

"We send our best wishes to him and his family as well. (He is an) inspiration amongst our game, incredible footballer, incredible person," Kane said.

The Torch tower in Doha was also lighted up on Saturday with a message of support saying "get well soon" and a picture of his face.

A sign with the same message was displayed by Brazilian fans at the Lusail Stadium on Friday ahead of Brazil's 1-0 defeat by Cameroon.

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