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
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
The Warning Bell
Laura insists on joining Marcus’ boys-only trip – but this isn’t just any skiing holiday
THE HUMAN TOUCH
Connection, courage, reflection and resilience are the themes of a global portrait award
THE BEST INTENTIONS
Having trouble sticking to your New Year’s resolutions? You’re not alone. Here’s what you can do instead
The nine-time Grammy nominee chats to YOU about her directorial debut with Music, a movie that’s close to her heart
REBEL WITH A CAUSE
Since losing weight the actress has been shocked by how differently people treat her
A Gauteng family came up with a brilliant plan to cheer up their neighbourhood
A ROYAL HEARTTHROB
The late Princess Margaret’s hunky grandson Arthur Chatto is turning heads
‘I FEEL PULLED IN SO MANY DIRECTIONS'
Frazzled Kate has opened up about the challenges of parenting and home-schooling during the pandemic
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
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.
The stretch of Monroe Road where you can find little pieces of Brazil
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 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.
“Take Two Kittens and Call Me In the Morning”
Can Cats Help Humans Be Healthier?
4 TIPS FOR IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH during quarantine
HEALTH NEWS & TIPS
Lift Your Own Spirits
We all feel down now and then, especially lately. These techniques can help you bounce back.
HOW BRAZILIAN GUITARIST PRIKA AMARAL REBUILT HER THRIVING THRASH-METAL JUGGERNAUT FROM THE GROUND UP AND JUMPED HEAD FIRST INTO PERPETUAL CHAOS
Eat to Keep Your Spirits Up
When it comes to staying motivated and keeping a positive outlook, diet can make all the difference.
Shoots from the hip
Robby Anderson said he wasn't “genuinely happy ” with the Jets at times