King Pelé celebrates his 80th birthday

Brazilian Pelé, in 2019. REUTERS / Christian Hartmann / File Photo

Text by: RFI Follow

4 min

“O Rei”, one of the greatest footballers of all time, celebrates his 80th birthday this Friday, October 23.

The three-time world champion always says he is "lucid", despite his hip and kidney problems.


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I must thank God for my health, and for the fact of arriving at this age still lucid, not smarter, but lucid

 ", joked the "King" Pelé, living legend of football, thanking those who already sent him messages to wish him a happy birthday.

I hope that when I die, God will receive me in the same way that I am received throughout the world thanks to football,

 " added the three-time world champion, who is celebrating his 80th birthday this Friday, October 23.

Pelé is considered by FIFA to be the best player of the 20th century, a distinction he shares with Argentinian Diego Maradona.

Decreased by hip problems

Pelé is currently confined to his home near São Paulo due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He has had health problems in recent years.

In April 2019, after a meeting with the young French world champion Kylian Mbappé, he was hospitalized in Paris for a severe urinary tract infection.

He was then transferred to São Paulo to have a kidney stone removed.

Pelé has only one kidney since the days when he was still a player.

A broken rib during a match had damaged his right kidney, which was eventually removed.

The one who many consider the best player of all time is also crippled by hip problems.

He used a walker during his last public appearances.

In February, his son Edinho had revealed that he was living " 


 " and " 

suffering from a form of depression


Pelé had quickly reassured his admirers by affirming that he was " 



I have good days and others not so good, it's normal for people of my age


Pelé doesn't usually have his birthday

In 2018, for the first time, Pelé did not visit Russia to follow the World Cup.

Author of 1281 goals throughout his career (92 caps), the Brazilian has won the World Cup three times.

In 1969, he scored his 1,000th goal in the famous Maracanã in Rio.

I'm fine, it's just that I won't be able to play this week,

 " joked the three-time world champion in a video chat with the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation earlier this week.

Very active on his social networks, Pelé, elected "Athlete of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee, does not fail to recall some of his exploits, such as his first goal with the Santos club at the age of 15, or the first World Cup he won in Brazil in 1958 thanks to a memorable action.

One who was born in 1940 in Tres Corazones, in the state of Minas Gerais (center), says that he usually does not celebrate his birthday.

But he expressed his gratitude for all the congratulatory messages he received from the round balloon planet.


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