Brazilian soccer icon Pelé said on Instagram Monday he is recovering after undergoing surgery last Saturday to remove a tumor from his right colon, one week after he denied reports that he had fainted and said he would undergo routine exams.
Pelé’s doctors told CNN a suspicious lesion was found during one of the cardiovascular and laboratory tests, which Pelé said he was unable to undergo earlier because of the pandemic.
Pelé is currently in the ICU at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, and will be transferred to a regular room Tuesday, according to The Athletic.
The 80-year-old soccer star said he was “feeling very well” Monday, echoing his sentiments from last week that he was in “very good health.”
“Fortunately, I’m used to celebrating great victories alongside you,” Pelé said in the Instagram post. “I will face this match with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and joy for living surrounded by the love of my family and friends.”
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also known as Pelé, is regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time as the only player in men’s soccer history to win three World Cups, according to The Athletic. He won with the Brazilian soccer team in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and is currently Brazil’s top scorer with 77 goals. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) also named him “Player of the Century” back in 2000, alongside Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona. In 2012, Pelé had a failed hip replacement surgery, which left him using walkers and wheelchairs to get around. Last year, reports began to swirl that Pelé was experiencing health problems after his son said in an interview that Pelé “was pretty fragile in terms of his mobility… and that makes him suffer a kind of depression.” However, the soccer icon denied he was depressed, saying, “after everything I’ve done in sports, I’m fine. Thank goodness I’m recovering.”
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‘They invented that I was depressed,’ says Pele as Brazil great dismisses health fears (CNN)