‘He’s sick, he’s old… but he WILL go home’: Football legend Pele’s family claim he’s NOT close to death – and is struggling with Covid and an infection as he continues to stay in hospital

  • Pele’s daughters Flavia and Kely have explained how Pele contracted Covid
  • This developed into a respiratory infection that saw the 83-year-old hospitalised
  • However, Flavia and Kely have said Pele is ‘not at risk’ despite initial concerns
  • They even explained how Pele had been watching Brazil during the World Cup 
  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

Pele’s daughters Flavia and Kely Nascimento have denied that the 82-year-old is close to death and said he was omitted to hospital to treat a respiratory infection that was aggravated by Covid. 

They said Pele was ‘not at risk’ despite reports claiming he had been placed in ‘palliative care’ after being admitted into the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo on Tuesday. 

Flavia and Kely thanked fans for their concerns but said Pele is ‘not ready to say goodbye’ and insisted he will ‘go home again’ once he recovers from his lung infection. 

They dismissed claims that Pele was in the ICU and even revealed how the 82-year-old had been watching Brazil at the 2022 World Cup and how he had been discussing their progress over the phone with his grandson. 

Kely, Flavia and Arthur Arantes do Nascimento updated Pele’s fans during an interview on Sunday evening. They said Pele, who is also undergoing chemotherapy in his fight against cancer, is expected to leave the Albert Einstein hospital once he fully recovers from the respiratory infection.

Neither the family nor the hospital have any predictions in that regard. However, a report by Folha de Sao Paulo on Saturday suggested there was cause for concern in terms of Pele’s cancer. 

The report said Pele was no longer responding to the chemotherapy treatment he has been undergoing since last September to treat his bowel cancer. 

Pele was hospitalised after contracting a respiratory infection following a Covid diagnosis 

Pele (right) pictured with his daughter Flavia Nascimento (left) on Instagram in October 

Speaking to Fantastico, Kely said: ‘About three weeks ago he got Covid. He is vaccinated, with all the vaccines, but because of the cancer medicine, the chemotherapy, which is fragile, he got a lung infection. 

‘That’s why he went to the hospital, because of the lung infection. Is he serious? It’s serious, because he’s a certain age, he’s treating cancer.’

Flavia went on to explain how the hospital was the best place for Pele to get the care he needed but insisted the 82-year-old was ‘not in the ICU’. 

She said: ‘At the hospital, he is better assisted. But he’s not in the ICU, he’s in a normal room. So he’s not at risk. As a person with a more delicate health, it is better to be in the hospital.’

Flavia went on to say it was ‘unfair to talk about his palliative treatment’. She told Fantastico: ‘It is very unfair to start talking that he is in a terminal state, with palliative treatment.

Pele is one of the greatest footballers of all time and won three World Cups with Brazil

‘It’s not that. Believe us. More than anyone else, we don’t want that moment to come. Of course, one day it will happen, but it’s not now, you don’t need to be in that alarm anticipating a situation that doesn’t exist now.’

The hospital said on Saturday that Pele was responding well to treatment for the infection and that his health condition had not worsened over the previous 24 hours. 

However, the hospital – based in the heart of Brazil – did not issue any statements on the former footballer’s health on Sunday. 

Meanwhile, Kely went on to speak about how difficult it has been receiving thousands of social media messages about her father.

She said: ‘People send me their condolences (on social networks). I say I’m going to put the phone down and I’m not going to answer anyone.

‘I just feel like I have to respond to people. Not to tell everything, but to say that it is not like that. We are not rushing there to say goodbye. 

‘We’re taking turns, he’s sick, he’s old, but he’s there because of a lung infection. He’s on antibiotics and when he gets better he’ll go home again. He’s not saying goodbye at the hospital.’

Meanwhile, Pele’s grandson Arthur revealed how the 82-year-old had been watching Brazil at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and even said they had been debating the matches over the phone. 

The former striker had received tributes at the World Cup after being admitted to hospital

The France star Kylian Mbappe was among those wishing Pele well on social media 

He said Pele missed injured star Neymar in Brazil’s latest two matches in Qatar – a 1-0 win against Switzerland and a 1-0 defeat against Cameroon, both in group stage. 

Arthur said that Pele was concerned about Brazil’s creativity without Neymar. However, Brazil will face South Korea on Monday in the round 16, with Neymar possibly returning to the team. 

Flavia started the conversation by saying: ‘He [Pele] is fine. He saw the first [Brazil] game. We watched it all together, it was really fun. 

‘My dad doesn’t like me talking during the game. Yes, he managed to watch (the third), quietly, but he watched.’ 

Pele’s daughters said the 82-year-old has been well enough to watch Brazil in the World Cup

Pele’s grandson also revealed how Pele was concerned about Neymar’s (above) injury

Before Arthur added: ‘He thinks that [Brazil] is playing good football. Without Neymar it’s difficult. Even he says that, that he can’t create as much, but that with Neymar he can attack more. He thinks that Brazil is playing well and manages to get the sixth.’ 

Pele – whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento – is regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time.

He won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and scored 643 goals in 659 official matches for the Brazilian club Santos. He scored 77 times in 92 games for his country’s national team.

Therefore, fans and players from across the world took to social media to send their well-wishes to the 82-year-old once the news broke that he had returned to hospital. 

His former club Santos, Brazilian ex-player Rivaldo and the France international forward Kylian Mbappe were among those tweeting good wishes, joining fans around the world. 

England captain Harry Kane said: ‘We send our best wishes to him and all his family from the whole England set-up. He’s an inspiration, an incredible person.’ 

Pele’s former club Santos said the ‘whole world was wishing you well’ on their Twitter

The former Brazilian footballer Rivaldo was among those wishing Pele well on Twitter 

Brazil and Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr posted a get well soon message to Pele on Instagram

On Friday, the Albert Einstein Hospital released a statement saying Pele had been diagnosed with a ‘respiratory infection’ that was being treated with antibiotics.

The update said the former player is expected to remain in hospital for continued treatment in the coming days but said his condition was ‘stable’.

In a post on Pele’s Instagram account on Friday, he responded to a ‘Get well soon’ message that was projected onto a building in Qatar, where the World Cup is taking place.

He wrote: ‘Friends, I am at the hospital making my monthly visit. It’s always nice to receive positive messages like this. Thanks to Qatar for this tribute, and to everyone who sends me good vibes.’

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