RIO DE JANEIRO – Pele sought to reassure fans on Thursday that he was doing fine, after his son alluded to depression and said the aging star now barely leaves home.
“Thanks for your prayers and your worry. I am doing fine. I will be 80 this year,” Pele, considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time, said in a statement.
“I have good days and bad days, which is normal for people my age.”
The Brazilian soccer legend has been in and out of the hospital in recent years for various health issues. He never fully recovered from one of his hip operations, leaving him dependent on a walker, his son, Edinho, said in an interview published Monday.
“I am not missing my (advertising) commitments on my busy schedule,” said Pele, the only player to win three World Cups — in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
“I continue to accept my physical limitations in the best way possible, but I try to keep the ball rolling.”
In the interview published on the sports news site Globoesporte.com, Edinho said his father is “pretty fragile in terms of his mobility . . . and that makes him suffer a kind of depression.”
“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.
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.