Pelé refutes son's claim about being depressed and reclusive: ‘I am not afraid, I am determined, confident’
"I am good," Pelé said in a statement after his son Edinho claimed he was reluctant to leave the house because he could not walk unaided. "I have good days and bad days. That is normal for people of my age"
Brazilian footballing legend Pelé has come out to refute claims he is depressed and reclusive, assuring fans in Brazil and around the world that he is doing well and maintaining a busy schedule.
The footballing world was left concerned for Pelé, who is set to turn 80 in October, after his son Edinho told TV Globo in an interview that his father was depressed over his poor health and reluctant to leave the house because he could not walk unaided.
"He’s pretty fragile," Edinho had said. "He had a hip replacement and didn’t have adequate or ideal rehabilitation. 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. He is very sheepish, reclusive," he continued, adding that he had argued with his father about not being regular with his physiotherapy after his operation.
However, Pelé, who won three World Cups with Brazil and is their highest-ever scorer, insisted he has not let his spirits go down because of his physical health.
"I am good," he said in a statement. "I continue to accept my physical limitations in the best way possible but I intend to keep the ball rolling. I have good days and bad days. That is normal for people of my age. I am not afraid, I am determined, confident in what I do."
Pelé has had trouble with his hip for years and underwent a hip operation in November 2012. He now needs a frame to walk and has made most of his public appearances in a wheelchair, including when he was pictured alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona at the 2018 World Cup draw in Moscow.
His problems with his health extended beyond his hips as well. A month after that meeting, it was reported that he had been hospitalized after collapsing through exhaustion. He has also been hospitalized numerous times with kidney and prostate problems, most recently in April 2019 when he had to undergo surgery for a urinary tract infection.
But his friends have said that this past January was one of his busiest in years, and was a month where he not only turned out for photoshoots and sponsorship work but also worked alongside a British director making a documentary about his life.
"I am not avoiding fulfilling the commitments in my always-busy schedule," the former footballer said.