Pele says he remains 'strong' amid cancer battle

Footballing icon says he wants to keep 'everyone calm' amid reports he was receiving palliative care

Fans next to a banner of football legend Pele during the World Cup match between Brazil and Cameroon at the Lusail Stadium in Doha, on December 2, 2022. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Brazilian football legend Pele said that he was "strong" and grateful for the support he has been receiving after being hospitalised 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.

A newspaper report on Saturday claimed that he was not responding to chemotherapy and was receiving palliative care.

"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, 82, who is widely considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday to re-evaluate his cancer treatment and later diagnosed with a respiratory infection.

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 hospitalisation 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 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.

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

Pele – full name Edson Arantes do Nascimento – won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970, scoring 77 times in 92 games for his country. He also scored 643 goals in 659 official matches for the Brazilian club Santos.

Football's world governing body Fifa, his former club Santos and current France international forward Kylian Mbappe were among those sending good wishes on social media.

Updated: December 03, 2022, 10:48 PM