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'He's pretty fragile': Football legend Pele 'embarrassed' to leave house amid ill-health concerns, son says

'He's pretty fragile': Football legend Pele 'embarrassed' to leave house amid ill-health concerns, son says
Brazilian all-time great Pele is in a 'fragile' state of health according to his son and is understood to be "embarrassed" to be seen in public in a wheelchair or walking frame as he battles back from poor health.

The former Santos player, who amassed an incredible 77 goals in 91 appearances for his national team in a career lauded as being one of the best the sport's annals, has endured a series of health woes in recent times.

Pele, 79, was hospitalized last year for a urinary infection, as well as for prostate surgery a number of years ago, but a chronic condition in his hip has flared up to the point that walking has become difficult.

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For someone who made their reputation on their athletic prowess, this appears to be proving tough to deal with. Pele has made several public appearances in recent times in a wheelchair and, according to the star's son, Edinho, it is beginning to take its toll.

"He is very sheepish, reclusive," Edinho said to TV Globo

"Imagine, he's the King, he was always such an imposing figure and today he can't walk properly."

Pele's impact on the sport is incalculable and he remains one of the game's most beloved figures despite retiring 43 years ago.

This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of the famous 1970 World Cup-winning side who are regularly hailed as the greatest team to ever take to the field in a football match. Pele scored the first goal in their 4-1 final win against Italy, and is credited with winning three World Cups in his career.  

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However, those glory days seem farther away than ever, says son Edinho.

"He's embarrassed, he doesn't want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house," he said of his father.

"He's pretty fragile. 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."

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