Pele, the pride of Brazilian football and the only player to win three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), is considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Rio de Janeiro:
Football legend Pele is experiencing "a kind of depression" and barely leaves home anymore because health problems have left him unable to walk normally, his son said in an interview. "He's pretty fragile in terms of his mobility... and that makes him suffer a kind of depression," Edinho said of Pele, who has had a series of health problems in recent years. "Just imagine, he's the 'King,' he was always such an imposing figure, and now he can't walk normally. He gets very shy, very embarrassed about that," his son said in an interview published on the sports news site Globoesporte.com on Monday. Pele, the pride of Brazilian football and the only player to win three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), is considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time.
He has been in and out of hospital in recent years for various health issues. He never fully recovered from one of his hip operations, leaving him dependent on a walker, Edinho said. "He's doing a bit better than when he was in a wheelchair recently, but he still has a hard time getting around," said Edinho, 49. Pele's public appearances have grown increasingly rare with age. Last April he traveled to Paris for a promotional appearance with French rising star Kylian Mbappe, but had to be hospitalized shortly after for kidney problems. In 2014, he was placed in intensive care for dialysis after contracting a severe urinary infection.
In 2014, Pele was placed in intensive care for dialysis after contracting a severe urinary infection. (Image credit: Getty Images)
The Brazilian great, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has only one kidney, after a broken rib during a match forced doctors to remove the other. He has also suffered a series of hip problems. Edinho said despite those issues his father is "doing well" physically.
The 78-year-old, who is widely considered to be the greatest footballer in history, was discharged rom the private American hospital in the Paris suburbs where he had been taken after falling ill following an appearance at a promotional event with France striker Kylian Mbappe. After arriving at the Sao Paulo-Guarulhos airport in Brazil, Pele was taken through a gaggle of reporters at the terminal in a wheelchair and was driven away in a van. "Once again, thank God, everything went well. I’m alive. Long live Brazil," said Pele, a gold cross hanging around his neck, after he arrived in Brazil’s biggest city.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Brazilians and all those who called the hospital, who called me, for my operation, to wish me a rapid recovery," he added. He also thanked the hospital for his treatment, saying: "France not only has great footballers, it also has very good doctors." In a statement on Monday on the Globoesporte.com site, Pele said he had required "medical assistance and surgery" for a "severe urinary infection." Before he was discharged, current Brazil star Neymar, who plays alongside Mbappe for Paris Saint-Germain, paid him a visit at the hospital.