Soccer Star Pelé Remains in Intensive Care After Surgery, But Is 'Looking Forward to Playing Again'

Pelé wrote that he feels "a little better" with "each passing day" on Instagram

Photo: Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty

Brazilian soccer star Pelé is wishing for a speedy recovery after undergoing surgery earlier this month.

The 80-year-old was still in intensive care as of Friday following a procedure to remove a tumor in his colon, according to the Associated Press.

The Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, released a statement confirming that the three-time World Cup winner was recuperating "in a satisfactory manner," adding that he is "awake, actively talking and keeping his vital signs in normality," per the AP.

That same day, Pelé shared a personal update with his 7.2 million Instagram followers.

"My friends, with each passing day I feel a little better," he wrote. "I'm looking forward to playing again, but I'm still going to recover for a few more days. While I'm here, I take the opportunity to talk a lot with my family and to rest. Thanks again for all the loving messages. We'll be together again soon!"

The father of seven selected a throwback photo of himself for the post, in which he held a soccer ball.

Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, originally shared the news of his surgery on Sept. 6, writing in an Instagram post, "Last Saturday I underwent surgery to remove a suspicious lesion in the right colon."

The athlete — recognized as one of the best soccer players of all time — added, "Fortunately, I'm used to celebrating great victories alongside you. I will face this match with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and joy for living surrounded by the love of my family and friends."

At the time, Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Hospital said that he was still in the intensive care unit, but was expected to be moved into a regular room on Tuesday.

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The star underwent a procedure to remove a tumor on the right side of his colon, which appeared after routine cardiovascular and laboratory exams at the end of August. NBC News reported that his tumor has been sent for testing.

Pelé retired from professional soccer in 1977 following an illustrious career. He joined Santos FC in 1956 at age 15. By the following year, he was the league's top scorer and had joined Brazil's national team. After 19 seasons with Santos, Pelé joined the New York Cosmos and played for three seasons in the United States.

The star forward remains the only male player to have won three World Cups, having helped Brazil emerge victorious in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He is also Brazil's all-time highest scorer with 77 goals.

In 2012, Pelé underwent an unsuccessful hip replacement surgery, which was followed by a corrective procedure four years later and has caused him mobility issues. He has also had back and prostate surgeries.

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