Pele 'stable' after brief stay back in ICU, says hospital

The three-time World Cup winner back in hospital two days after being released following colon tumour surgery

Brazilian football legend Pele was transferred back to an intensive care unit in Sao Paulo on Friday after suffering breathing difficulties but is now stable, said the Albert Einstein Hospital, where he underwent surgery earlier this month.

The transfer was a temporary "preventative measure," the hospital said, adding that Brazil's all-time record scorer was later transferred to "semi-intensive care" as he continues to recover from surgery for a suspected colon tumor.

"He is currently stable from a cardiovascular and respiratory point of view," it added.

Pele, 80, posted a message on social media stating: "Friends, I am still recovering very well. Today I received visits from family and I am still smiling every day."

Pele's daughter, Kely Nascimento, also posted a photo of herself next to her father in the hospital, seeking to cheer up his fans.

"This is the normal recovery scenario for a man his age. After an operation like this, sometimes you take two steps forward, one step back," Nascimento wrote on Instagram next to the photo.

"Yesterday he was tired and he took a step back. Today, he has taken two steps forward," she added.

"He is recovering well, under normal conditions, I promise!" Nascimento added. "There is a lot of angst in the world these days and we don't want to add to it."

On September 6 the hospital said Pele had undergone surgery for a suspected colon tumor.

He originally left the ICU unit on Tuesday, telling his fans on social media that he was feeling happier by the day and was looking forward to reuniting with them.

The suspected tumor was detected during routine tests, according to the hospital, where Pele has been undergoing treatment since August 31.

Considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time, Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has been in poor health in recent years, and has had various stints in the hospital.

The only player in history to win three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), Pele burst onto the global stage at just 17 with dazzling goals, including two in the final against hosts Sweden, as Brazil won the World Cup for the first time in 1958.

Four years later, Pele gave a tantalizing glimpse of his ability with an electric individual goal against Mexico in Brazil's opening 2-0 win.

"O Rei" (The King) went on to have one of the most storied careers in sport. He officially netted 757 career goals, leaving him behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Josef Biscan on the all-time list. Brazilian club Santos, where Pele spent the majority of his career, 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.

Updated: September 18th 2021, 6:22 AM