Pele, Brazilian soccer legend, says he remains ‘strong’ amid battle against cancer

SAO PAULO, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Brazilian soccer 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 while battling 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 receiving treatment for a respiratory infection.

“I am strong, with a lot of hope and I follow my treatment as always,” said Pele. “I have a lot of faith in God and every message of love I receive from you around the world keeps me energized.”

Pelé, one of the greatest footballers of all time, if not the greatest, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday to reassess his cancer treatment.

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

In a report on Saturday, medical staff at the Albert Einstein Hospital said Pele 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 stable,” the doctors said.

The latest medical note came after the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported hours earlier that Pelé, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, had been receiving palliative care after chemotherapy failed to produce the expected results.

The newspaper also said he had general inflammation and heart problems when he was admitted to hospital earlier this week, as ESPN Brasil previously reported.

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Brazilian soccer great Pele attends a news conference to present the global ‘Trophy Tour’ of the FIFA World Cup in Paris March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

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

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

Pelé, who played in Brazil and as a striker for the Santos and New York Cosmos clubs, was one of the best-known sportsmen in the world in his heyday and is considered one of the greatest footballers 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 Brazil’s all-time top scorer, with 77 goals in 92 games.

Messages of support poured 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 entire national team wished him well.

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

The Torch Tower in Doha was also lit up on Saturday with a message of support reading “get well soon” and a photo of her face.

Brazilian fans displayed a banner with the same message at Lusail Stadium on Friday before Brazil’s 1-0 loss to Cameroon.

Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; Additional reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Edited by Mike Harrison, Sandra Maler, and Angus MacSwan

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