SAO PAULO (AFP) – Brazilian soccer legend Pele said Friday he was recovering from the kidney ailment which has forced him to spend the past 11 days in hospital, thanking well-wishers for their support.
“I want to thank all of you, right round the world, for your concern over my health,” said the 74-year-old, in a video posted to social media three days after leaving intensive care and requesting a guitar.
“Thank God, I am doing well and recovering. I am here with my family. I know there are people all over the world who are concerned about me,” said Pele, clad in a blue-checked shirt and sitting with family members and a girlfriend.
The three-time world champion continued in English by telling his fans: “Don’t worry. Thank you very much. I know everybody was worried about my health, but I am OK.”
And he invited those asking after him to “come to Brazil, enjoy the Olympic Games” which Rio will stage in August 2016.
“We are going to participate together, this is a proof of my health. Thanks God and thanks everyone,” concluded Pele.
Pele remains in a Sao Paulo hospital where he was hospitalised on November 24 with a suspected urinary tract infection requiring antibiotics.
Eight days ago, the hospital placed the man nicknamed “O Rei” (the king) in intensive care after his condition became “clinically unstable,” briefly alarming fans.
Some Brazilian media reported Pele had septicemia, a blood infection, after he failed to respond to treatment.
The Albert Einstein clinic stopped renal assistance last Sunday and moved Pele to semi-intensive care Tuesday following a battery of tests.
On Friday, the clinic issued a statement noting “a progressive improvement in his general state” of health.
Pele has only one kidney after the other was removed following a rib injury he suffered while playing for the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, his agent Jose “Pepito” Fornos told AFP.
Pele underwent kidney stone surgery in the same clinic on November 13 and was discharged before returning complaining of abdominal pain.