Football: 'Fragile' Pele in state of depression over health

Football legend Pele
Football legend Pele Photo credit: Reuters

Brazilian soccer great Pele is depressed over his poor health and reluctant to leave the house, because he cannot walk unaided, son Edinho has revealed in an interview published in Brazil.

Widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers in history, Pele will be 80 in October, but 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," Edinho told TV Globo. "He had a hip replacement, and didn't have an 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," 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.

The only player to win three World Cups, Pele 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 was the greatest team of all time.