Football world rallies around Pele after concerning health news

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·Sports Reporter
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Brazil icon Pele talking during a media opportunity.
Brazil icon Pele is recovering in hospital from surgery. (Getty Images)

Football icon Pele has announced he is recovering from surgery in hospital after having a tumour from his colon removed.

Pele, the only player to win three World Cups, did not say whether the tumour was malignant but the 80-year-old former Santos and New York Cosmos star said he was feeling good and the operation was a "great victory".

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"Last Saturday I underwent surgery to remove a suspicious lesion in the right colon," he wrote in a social media post.

"The tumour was identified during the tests I mentioned last week."

The Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo said in a statement that they were keeping Pele in intensive care but expected to transfer him to a room on Tuesday.

The tumour has been sent for tests, it added.

"Luckily, I am used to celebrating big victories with you," Pele wrote.

"I am facing up to this match with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and happiness for being surrounded by the love of my family and friends."

Fans took to social media to send well-wishes to the Brazilian legend.

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Pele denies health rumours

The news came just hours after a Brazilian news outlet said Pele had spent six days in hospital after going in for his annual medical.

It also came days after Pele refuted reports he had fainted and 18 months after his son Edinho said his father was depressed, something the star quickly denied.

"Guys, I didn't faint and I'm in very good health. I went for my routine exams, which I had not been able to do before because of the pandemic. Let them know I don't play next Sunday," he joked in a tweet.

Pele became a household name at the 1958 World Cup and he went onto lift three World Cups.

Retired Brazilian football star Pele ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup final draw at the State Kremlin Palace.
Retired Brazilian football star Pele ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup final draw at the State Kremlin Palace. (Photo by Alexei Nikolsky\TASS via Getty Images)

He was named the player of the century, an honour he shared with Deigo Maradona.

Pele was famous as a player for rarely getting injured but he has had mobility problems since a failed hip replacement surgery in 2012.

He has been forced to use walkers and wheelchairs in public. He has also been admitted to hospitals in recent years for kidney and prostate procedures.

Pele's public appearances were already being cut before the pandemic and since then he has made few unnecessary forays outside his house near Santos.

with AAP

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