Brazilian football legend Pelé hospitalised amid concerns he is in palliative care

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By Euronews  with AP
Football fans hold a giant Brazilian flag with a picture of Brazilian football legend Pele with a message "Pele, Get well soon" in Qatar, 2 December 2022
Football fans hold a giant Brazilian flag with a picture of Brazilian football legend Pele with a message "Pele, Get well soon" in Qatar, 2 December 2022   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

The Brazilian football great Pelé had a respiratory infection and was to remain at the hospital where he has been since Tuesday.

He is being treated with antibiotics, Hospital Albert Einstein said in a statement on Friday.

"His response has been adequate and the patient, who remains in a regular bedroom, is stable, with an overall improvement in his health condition," the hospital added.

The news was followed up by reports that Pelé is receiving palliative care, domestic media in his native Brazil reported on Saturday.

According to the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, the 82-year-old Edson Arantes do Nascimento is no longer responding to chemotherapy after a long battle with colon cancer.

Neither the hospital nor his family has said whether the former footballer's cancer has spread to other organs. He has checked in with the hospital every month.

However, the hospital confirmed on Friday that the three-time World Cup winner has had to regulate his chemotherapy medication.

ESPN Brasil reported on Wednesday that Pele was taken to the hospital because of "general swelling".

'We love Pelé'

Meanwhile, Brazilian fans showed their support for the football great during the national team's 1-0 loss to Cameroon at the World Cup on Friday.

Fans in Qatar displayed a banner with the image of Pelé holding a football behind one of the goals at Lusail Stadium. 

They also opened a large flag with an image of the Brazil great and the words: “Pelé. Get well soon.” One fan in the stands held up a jersey with a photo of Pelé on it.

Another large image of Pelé could be seen on a building near the venue, along with the messages “get well soon” and “we love Pelé”.

Pelé thanked fans in an Instagram post late Thursday for the well-wishes he's received in a fight against cancer. 

“Friends, I am at the hospital making my monthly visit,” Pelé wrote on social media. “It’s always nice to receive positive messages like this. Thanks to Qatar for this tribute, and to everyone who sends me good vibes!”

In the pre-match news conference on Thursday, Brazil manager Tite said the entire team wanted “to wish good health to Pelé” from Qatar.

Kely Nascimento, one of his daughters, extended her father's thankful message to Qatar and Tite. 

Pelé had a colon tumour removed in September 2021 and has since gone through chemotherapy.

He helped Brazil win the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains the team's all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 matches.