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Brazilian football legend Pele says apparent colon tumor removed but feels well

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By Euronews  with AFP
Pele pictured in 2018
Pele pictured in 2018   -   Copyright  Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Brazilian football legend Pelé has had an apparent tumor on the right side of his colon removed in an operation.

The operation was a "great victory,” the 80-year-old soccer great said on his social media channels on Monday.

“Last Saturday I underwent surgery to remove a suspicious lesion in the right colon. The tumor was identified during the tests I mentioned last week," Pelé said. 

“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," he added. 

The former striker, who won three World Cups with Brazil, was hospitalised in Sao Paulo after problems emerged during routine check-ups.

He entered the hospital on August 31, posting on social media to say he was “in good health”, and denying rumours he had lost consciousness.

"I went to the hospital for routine tests that I had not been able to do before because of the pandemic," he explained, without specifying that he remained hospitalised.

Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has been in poor health in recent years, with several hospitalisations.

The last one was in April 2019, in Paris, due to a severe urinary infection. Back in Brazil, he had a kidney stone removed.

At the end of 2014, Pele had already suffered a severe urinary tract infection and was placed in intensive care and on dialysis.

He is also hampered by hip problems and has been using a walker in recent public appearances.

In February 2020, Pele reassured fans of his mental health after his son Edinho said he was living as a "recluse" and suffering from "some form of depression".