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Nearing 80, Pele says happy to be ‘lucid’


(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 8, 2005 Brazilian football legend Pele kisses a football during a presentation in Leipzig on the eve of the final draw of the Fifa football World Cup 2006. – Brazilian football legend Pele turns 80 on October 23, 2020. (Photo by Franck FIFE / AFP)

Days away from turning 80, Brazilian football legend Pele said he was happy for his good mental health in a video sent to the media Tuesday.

“I thank God for giving me the health to make it this far lucid. Not very intelligent, but lucid,” he joked in the short video, released ahead of his milestone birthday Friday.

“I hope when I die God will welcome me the same way I’ve been welcomed all over the world because of our beloved football,” he added.


Considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time, Pele has struggled with poor physical health in recent years.

The three-time World Cup champion (1958, 1962 and 1970) has been in and out of the hospital for various issues.

Last year he travelled to Paris for a promotional appearance with French star Kylian Mbappe but had to be hospitalized shortly after for kidney problems.


In 2014, he was placed in intensive care for dialysis after contracting a severe urinary infection.

The Brazilian great, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has only one kidney, after a broken rib during a match forced doctors to remove the other.

He has also suffered a series of hip problems and has taken to using a walker at his increasingly rare public appearances.


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