Pele too ‘embarrassed’ by ill health to make public appearances

February 11 – The world’s most famous footballer, Pele, has become a virtual recluse according to his son because he cannot walk unaided.

This summer  marks the 50th anniversary of Pelé’s third World Cup title, won in Mexico in 1970 with what many believe was the greatest team of all time.

But the three-time World Cup winner, who is 80 this year, has had hip problems for some time and now needs a frame to walk, conducting many of his recent public appearances in a wheelchair.

“He is very sheepish, reclusive,” his son Edinho told TV Globo.  “He’s pretty fragile. He had a hip replacement and didn’t have an adequate or ideal rehabilitation.”

“So he has this problem with mobility and that has set off a kind of depression. Imagine, he’s the king, he was always such an imposing figure, and today he can’t walk properly.”

Pele scored a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during his 21-year career, including 77 goals in 91 appearances for Brazil. But last year he went into hospital with a urinary tract infection.

“He’s embarrassed, he doesn’t want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house,” said his son.

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