Pele has revealed he is very well despite “a little step back” this week in his recovery after surgery to remove a tumour from his colon earlier this month.
The three-time World Cup winner was expected to return home shortly after he left intensive care at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
However, reports in Brazil on Friday stated the 80-year-old was back in the ICU but his daughter later that night sought to reassure the football community over his health before the Santos great also provided a social-media update.
“My friends, I am still recovering very well. Today I received visits from family members and I continue to smile every day. Thank you for all the love I get from you,” Pele said on Instagram.
Hours before, his daughter Kely Nascimento, who was one of his visitors on Friday, had revealed the latest on her father’s progress following the procedure in September.
“There’s already a lot of anxiety roaming the world these days and we don’t want to be the reason for more,” she wrote on Instagram in a post which included a picture with her dad in hospital.
🧢 91 caps⚽️ 77 goals🏆 3 #WorldCup titles
🔙 50 years ago today an emotional @Pele made his last Brazil appearance in a friendly against Yugoslavia. Has there ever been a better international career?@CBF_Futebol | #OnThisDay pic.twitter.com/mbOblxDGkx
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 18, 2021
“This photo was taken just now. He is wearing a vest because he is Santista and the cold in SP bothers him! He is recovering well and within normal range. Promise!
“He doesn’t like it when I say this so please don’t tell him but he is an O’Keefe (sic) gentleman. The normal recovery scenario for a man of his age, after an operation like this, is sometimes two steps forward and one step back.
“Yesterday (Thursday) he was tired and took a little step back. Today he took two forwards! I want to thank again, and always, the brilliant team here at Einstein and even more gratitude for all of the good energy that you are transmitting.”
Pele revealed on September 6 a “suspicious lesion” had been detected during tests, prompting surgeons to operate, but vowed to tackle it “with a smile on my face”.
On Tuesday after thanking fans for their well wishes, he revealed he had left the ICU and insisted: “I continue every day happier, with a lot of disposition to play 90 minutes, plus extra time.”
Perhaps football’s first world superstar, he rose to international prominence when he helped Brazil win the 1958 World Cup as a 17-year-old, repeating the feat in 1962 and 1970.
Officially, he scored 757 goals during a glittering career – club Santos claim his tally was closer to 1,000 – leaving him behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Josef Biscan on the all-time list.