Pelé has sent a message of support to Brazil’s players ahead of their World Cup clash with South Korea.
The three-time World Cup winner said on social media he would be watching the game from the hospital in Sao Paulo where he was admitted last week.
There were grave concerns over the 82-year-old’s health when news outlets in Brazil reported that he had been moved to palliative care, but an update from doctors about his treatment for colon cancer was followed by a message on Pelé’s Instagram page that he was “strong” and which called for calm.
Ahead of Monday evening’s last-16 tie at Stadium 974, Pelé recalled memories of his World Cup debut in 1958, when the 17-year-old helped Brazil lift the Jules Rimet Trophy in Sweden.
He wrote on Twitter: “In 1958, I walked the streets thinking about fulfilling the promise I made to my father. I know that today many have made similar promises and are also going in search of their first World Cup.
“I’ll be watching the game from hospital and I’ll be rooting for each one of you. Good luck!”
Injury affected Pelé’s contribution to the 1962 and 1966 World Cup finals, but he returned to lead Brazil to a third triumph in Mexico in 1970 as part of what is widely regarded as the greatest international team of all time.
Officially, Pelé scored 757 goals in 831 games during a glittering career from 1957 to 1977, although club Santos claim his tally was closer to 1,000.