Brazil great Pele upbeat after surgery to remove colon tumour

Pele, 80, vows to tackle his illness 'with a smile on my face'

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Brazil football legend Pele has revealed he has undergone surgery to remove a tumour from his colon.

Pele, 80, helped Brazil to World Cup glory in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and is widely recognised as one of the game's greatest ever players and remains one of its most treasured figures.

He posted an upbeat message on his Instagram, vowing to tackle his illness “with a smile on my face” and that he looked forward to celebrating another "great victory".

“Last Saturday I underwent surgery to remove a suspicious lesion in the right colon,” Pele posted on Instagram.

“The tumour was identified during the tests I mentioned last week. Fortunately I am used to celebrating great victories alongside you.

“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.”

The Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, said Pele would remain in intensive care. He is expected to be transferred to his own room on Tuesday.

In February 2020, Pele's son, the former Santos goalkeeper Edinho, said his father had become "embarrassed" to leave his house because he cannot walk unaided.

Brazil's all-time leading scorer has faced several health scares in recent years. He underwent prostate surgery in 2015 after he was admitted to hospital for the second time in six months. He was admitted for a urinary infection in 2019.

Pele officially netted 757 career goals, leaving him behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Josef Biscan on the all-time list. Brazilian club Santos however claim that number is closer to 1,000.

He is one of only four players to have scored in four different World Cup tournaments. Portugal striker Ronaldo and Germany pair Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler are the others.

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Updated: September 07, 2021, 5:35 AM