Prayers up for Brazil legend Pele as hospital releases fresh update on his health

Pele is Brazil's all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 games
Pele is Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 games

Brazil great Pele says he is “strong with a lot of hope” as he undergoes treatment in hospital in Sao Paulo.

In a statement released on Saturday he said messages of support as well as watching Brazil at the World Cup had given him “energy”.

Earlier the hospital released a statement that said he was “still undergoing treatment and remains stable”.

It follows a report in Brazil that he was beginning end-of-life care after not responding to chemotherapy.

“My friends, I want to keep everyone calm and positive,” he said in a statement on Instagram.

“I’m strong, with a lot of hope and I follow my treatment as usual. I want to thank the entire medical and nursing team for all the care I have received.

“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. And watching Brazil in the World Cup too!

“Thank you so much for everything.”

The 82-year-old three-time World Cup winner has been in hospital since Tuesday, and on Thursday night he said it was a “routine monthly visit”.

He had a tumour removed from his colon in September 2021.

The statement from the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein on Saturday said Pele “had a good response to treatment for respiratory infection care”. It added he was undergoing a “reassessment of chemotherapy treatment”.

The legendary forward was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and on Friday the hospital had said he was in a stable condition.

On Saturday, the new statement said his condition has not worsened in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, messages of support have been sent from across the world.

‘He’s an inspiration’

Speaking on Saturday, England captain Harry Kane said: “We are very sad to hear news of him being ill but we wish him well, not just me but the whole England set-up. He’s an inspiration, an incredible person.”

World Cup-winning former Germany forward Jurgen Klinsmann, speaking on BBC One’s World Cup coverage on Saturday, said: “Pele is just such a wonderful person. The outstanding personality of world football. We can just pray and hope for the best.”

Former Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta added on BBC One: “It’s very sad news to hear about Pele. He’s been a true inspiration for all of us, on and off the pitch. He’s always been a great man.”

“Pray for the King,” France forward Kylian Mbappe tweeted. 

Doha's Torch tower, also known as the Aspire Tower, lit by a screen depicting Pele and reading a message in support of the former Brazil player
Doha’s Torch tower, also known as the Aspire Tower, showing a message of support to Pele

World Cup host nation Qatar showed its support for Pele on Saturday, lighting up buildings with a “Get well soon” message.

The Lusail Stadium in Doha, which will host the World Cup final on 18 December, and the Aspire Tower next to the Khalifa Stadium, were adorned with pictures of Pele in his famous number 10 shirt.

Concerns were initially raised on Wednesday when ESPN Brasil reported Pele had been admitted, with his daughter Kely Nascimento saying there was “no emergency” involved.

Pele thanked well-wishers on Friday for sending “good vibes” and said his stay in hospital was “a routine visit”.

The former striker is Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 games and scored in four World Cup tournaments.

Santos, his only Brazilian club, tweeted: “It’s the whole world wishing you well, King Pele”.