BRASÍLIA, Brazil — Soccer legend and three-time World Cup champion with Brazil, Pele said on Sept. 6 that he underwent surgery to remove a colon lesion after several days in the hospital.

Pele was hospitalized on Aug. 31 for medical tests at the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo, revealing that he had a tumor.

“My friends, thank you very much for the kind messages. I thank God for feeling very well and for allowing Dr. Fabio and Dr. Miguel to take care of my health,” said Pele in an Instagram post.

“Last Saturday (Sept. 4), I underwent surgery to remove a suspicious lesion in the right colon. The tumor was identified during the tests I mentioned last week. 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.”

A few days before, Pele informed on Instagram that he did not faint and is in very good health.

“I went for my routine exams, which I had not been able to do before because of the pandemic,” he said.

“Let them know I do not play next Sunday (Sept. 5)!”

Pele, the only male player to win three World Cups, had 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 won 1958, 1962, and 1970 World Cups and remains Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals.

The all-time top goal-scorer will turn 81 in October.

During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world. Since retiring in 1977, Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador for football and has made many acting and commercial ventures.

Averaging almost a goal per game throughout his career, Pelé was adept at striking the ball with either foot in addition to anticipating his opponents’ movements on the field.

“They reverently called him “O Rei do Futebol,” The King of Football, and his face remains one of the world’s most universal and instantly recognizable,” said Federation Internationale de Football Association in 2012.

“The man is Pele, the Brazilian superstar who was named Player of the Century by FIFA in the year 2000.”

The striker was in his country’s squad for their subsequent success in 1962 but missed most of the finals with injury. After a relatively subdued period, Pele was most imperious for the 1970 tournament in Mexico and led his team to another momentous triumph.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra

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