Pele is the only player to win the World Cup three times
Brazil legend Pele says he is “recovering very well” after briefly being readmitted to intensive care following a recent operation.
The 80-year-old had surgery to remove a tumour from his colon this month and was initially released from intensive care on Wednesday.
Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein Hospital said he was readmitted “as a preventative measure”.
“My friends, I am still recovering very well,” Pele wrote on Instagram.
“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 had been having treatment at the hospital since 31 August after the tumour was detected in routine tests.
Media outlets in Brazil reported that he was readmitted to intensive care as a precautionary measure because of his age.
The hospital later released a statement confirming this and added: “After stabilisation, the patient was transferred to semi-intensive care.
“He is currently stable from a cardiovascular and respiratory point of view.”
Before the hospital statement was released, his daughter posted on Instagram: “I don’t know what is going on with the rumours out there but my DMs are booming!!!
“There’s already a lot of anxiety roaming the world these days and we don’t want to be the reason for more.
“The normal recovery scenario for a man of his age after an operation like this is sometimes two steps forward and one step back. It’s very normal.
“Yesterday he was tired and took a little step back. Today he took two forwards!”
Pele’s health has been a concern in recent years. He had prostate surgery in 2015 after he was admitted to hospital for the second time in six months, and he was admitted again for a urinary infection in 2019.
He was famous as a player for rarely getting injured but he has suffered from hip problems for years and cannot walk unaided. His public appearances were already being cut before the Covid-19 pandemic and since then he has made few unnecessary forays outside his house near Santos.
Pele is Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 games and one of only four players to have scored in four World Cup tournaments.
Lionel Messi recently passed him as the leading South American men’s scorer in international matches with a hat-trick in Argentina’s World Cup qualifying win against Bolivia.