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Pelé Is In Intensive Care After Surgery But Says He's Doing Well

"My friends, with each passing day I feel a little better," Pelé, a three-time World Cup champion, told fans on Instagram on Friday.
"My friends, with each passing day I feel a little better," Pelé, a three-time World Cup champion, told fans on Instagram on Friday.

Pelé is recovering from colon cancer surgery in intensive care but the Brazilian soccer legend says he's doing well.

The 80-year-old, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, underwent surgery on Saturday and has been recuperating in an intensive care unit, according to his doctors.

"My friends, with each passing day I feel a little better," Pelé wrote in an Instagram post on Friday.

"I'm looking forward to playing again, but I'm still going to recover for a few more days," he joked.

Pelé has been in poor health in recent years. Earlier this week, he explained that doctors removed "a suspicious lesion in the right colon." It was discovered during a routine doctor's visit on Aug. 31, he said.

"I went for my routine tests, which I had not been able to do before because of the pandemic," Pele said the same day on Twitter. He denied reports that he had fainted.

He's been a long-time ambassador for soccer

The three-time World Cup winner has spent decades serving as a global ambassador for soccer — and for his home country, Brazil, where he's known as "The King." His message for the world has been simple: Soccer transcends national borders.

His flashy style of play made him an instant sensation when he burst on the scene as a 17-year-old during one of the first televised World Cups — in 1958. Fans couldn't get enough of the way he vaulted soccer balls high over his opponent's heads and rocketed them backwards while airborne.

He retired from international football in 1974, but the following year he went to play for the New York Cosmos, boosting American interest in the game.

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