SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian soccer great Pele is depressed over his poor health and reluctant to leave the house because he cannot walk unaided, his son Edinho said in an interview published in Brazil on Monday.
Pele, widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers in history and who will be 80 in October, has had hip trouble for years and now needs a frame to walk. Many of his recent public appearances have been in a wheelchair.
“He’s pretty fragile. He had a hip replacement and didn’t have an adequate or ideal rehabilitation,” Edinho told TV Globo.
“So he has this problem with mobility and that has set off a kind of depression. Imagine, he’s the King, he was always such an imposing figure and today he can’t walk properly.
“He’s embarrassed, he doesn’t want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house,” his son added. “He is very sheepish, reclusive.”
Edinho said he had argued with his father because he had not done the physiotherapy called for after a hip operation.
Pele, the only player to win three World Cups, spent most of his career with Brazilian team Santos before moving to New York Cosmos in the 1970s.
This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of the striker’s third World Cup title, won in Mexico in 1970 with what many people believe is the greatest team of all time.
Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond