Soccer legend Pelé is depressed and embarrassed to leave house because of poor health, says son

The 79-year-old superstar has had problems with his hip for a while now and often requires a frame or wheelchair to help him get around

                            Soccer legend Pelé is depressed and embarrassed to leave house because of poor health, says son
(Getty Images)

Soccer legend Pelé is depressed over his poor health and reluctant to leave the house because he cannot walk unaided, his son Edinho has said. Edinho, Pelé's second child from his marriage to Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi, made the revelation during a recent interview with TV Globo and said his father's lack of mobility is dampening his spirit.

"He’s pretty fragile," Edinho 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. The Brazilian legend, who will be turning 80 this October, 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 recent public appearances in a wheelchair, including, most famously, 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 extend beyond just his hip as well. A month after that meeting with Putin and Maradona, it was reported that he had been hospitalized after collapsing through exhaustion.

Pelé had been due to be honored at a Football Writers' Association Dinner in London, with the organization even releasing a statement confirming his absence due to poor health. "In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pelé collapsed and was taken to hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion," the statement read. "He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery. Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion."

He has also been to the hospital numerous times for kidney and prostate problems and was admitted again in April 2019 because of a urinary tract infection that eventually required surgery to remove kidney stones. However, it was assured that his condition was not serious. "The procedure was successful and he is already in the room, in good general condition from the clinical point of view," state-run Agencia Brasil had said then.

Edinho, a former goalkeeper, was jailed for 33 years in May 2014 after he was convicted for money laundering from drug trafficking operations. His sentence was reduced to 12 years and 10 months on appeal, with his recent interview with TV Globo coming from behind bars. The full interview is set to air on the channel on February 13.

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