KEEPING THE BALL ROLLING
YOU South Africa|27 February 2020
His son claims he’s depressed and can’t walk properly, but football legend Pelé says his health woes are normal for his age
DENNIS CAVERNELIS

IT’S not for nothing that he’s known as one of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen. At the tender age of 17 he scored his first world cup victory – and soon he was breaking record after record. Eventually he was named athlete of the century by the International Olympic Committee in 1999.

But time has taken its toll on Pelé. Now 79, the frail Brazilian is almost unrecognisable as soccer’s former fleet- footed superstar striker.

He’s a recluse mired deep in depression who can’t walk without help and refuses to leave his home, if the eldest of his seven children is to be believed.

Pelé suffered complications after hip surgery and never properly regained his mobility, his son Edinho (49) told Brazil’s Globo Esporte.

“He’s quite fragile,” Edinho says. “He underwent a hip replacement and did not have adequate, ideal rehabilitation. So he has this mobility problem, which has caused a kind of depression.”

Pelé won three world cups for Brazil during his star-studded 19-year career. “Imagine, he’s the king, he was always such an imposing figure, and today he can no longer walk properly,” Edinho says.

But the football icon quickly pointed out he’s anything but depressed. “I’m good,” Pelé says in response to his son’s claims. “I continue to accept my physical limitations in the best possible way, but I intend to keep the ball rolling.

“I have good days and bad days. That is normal for people of my age. I’m not afraid. I’m determined, confident in what I do.”

HIS physical decline has been gradual. In Russia, at the 2018 world cup, the Brazilian icon was spotted in a wheelchair and later getting around with a walking frame.

Without these aids his dad can’t get around, Edinho says.

Pelé had hip-replacement surgery in 2012 and would joke his walker was his “new soccer shoes with wheels”.

Edinho argued with his father because he didn’t go for the required physiotherapy after his op.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM YOU SOUTH AFRICAView All

THEY TOLD US WE WERE FRAUDS

In a David and Goliath battle, this Cape Town couple took their medical aid scheme to court after their membership was cancelled without warning

6 mins read
YOU South Africa
25 February 2021

The Warning Bell

Laura insists on joining Marcus’ boys-only trip – but this isn’t just any skiing holiday

7 mins read
YOU South Africa
25 February 2021

THE HUMAN TOUCH

Connection, courage, reflection and resilience are the themes of a global portrait award

2 mins read
YOU South Africa
25 February 2021

THE BEST INTENTIONS

Having trouble sticking to your New Year’s resolutions? You’re not alone. Here’s what you can do instead

5 mins read
YOU South Africa
25 February 2021

Sia

The nine-time Grammy nominee chats to YOU about her directorial debut with Music, a movie that’s close to her heart

3 mins read
YOU South Africa
11 February 2021

REBEL WITH A CAUSE

Since losing weight the actress has been shocked by how differently people treat her

5 mins read
YOU South Africa
11 February 2021

WORD PERFECT

A Gauteng family came up with a brilliant plan to cheer up their neighbourhood

3 mins read
YOU South Africa
11 February 2021

A ROYAL HEARTTHROB

The late Princess Margaret’s hunky grandson Arthur Chatto is turning heads

4 mins read
YOU South Africa
11 February 2021

‘I FEEL PULLED IN SO MANY DIRECTIONS'

Frazzled Kate has opened up about the challenges of parenting and home-schooling during the pandemic

5 mins read
YOU South Africa
11 February 2021

2 MOMS, 1 DAD AND A BITTER LEGAL BATTLE

A little girl is at the centre of a row between two women and their sperm donor over his continued involvement in his daughter’s life

5 mins read
YOU South Africa
11 February 2021
RELATED STORIES

Q&A with Ron Rivera, Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney

Coach Ron Rivera, General Manager Martin Mayhew and Executive Vice President of Football/Player Personnel Marty Hurney met with the media via Zoom on Feb. 3 to discuss the direction of the new front office. The interview is edited for space.

5 mins read
Warpath
March 2021

Bem-vindo!

The stretch of Monroe Road where you can find little pieces of Brazil

1 min read
Charlotte Magazine
March 2021

WINTER WELLNESS: 5 TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR Gut and Brain Health THIS NEW YEAR

This new year may look socially different than years past, and considering the added stress, limited sleep and typical holiday overindulgence most of us experienced last month, it’s even more necessary than usual to let our bodies recover and regenerate in this post-holiday season.

4 mins read
Natural Solutions
February 2021

4 EXPERT TIPS FOR Men to Age Gracefully

We all want to believe that we get better with age, but growing older can often make a man feel more like a broken-down beater than a classic car. Luckily, it is possible to handle the process with strength and integrity. Try a modern approach to aging gracefully with these four steps,” says Dr. Spar.

2 mins read
Natural Solutions
February 2021

“Take Two Kittens and Call Me In the Morning”

Can Cats Help Humans Be Healthier?

8 mins read
Cat Talk
February 2021

4 TIPS FOR IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH during quarantine

HEALTH NEWS & TIPS

1 min read
Alternative Medicine
February 2021

Lift Your Own Spirits

We all feel down now and then, especially lately. These techniques can help you bounce back.

6 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

Nervosa

HOW BRAZILIAN GUITARIST PRIKA AMARAL REBUILT HER THRIVING THRASH-METAL JUGGERNAUT FROM THE GROUND UP AND JUMPED HEAD FIRST INTO PERPETUAL CHAOS

2 mins read
Guitar World
March 2021

Eat to Keep Your Spirits Up

When it comes to staying motivated and keeping a positive outlook, diet can make all the difference.

3 mins read
Better Nutrition
February 2021

Shoots from the hip

Robby Anderson said he wasn't “genuinely happy ” with the Jets at times

4 mins read
NY Jets Confidential
February/March 2021