Cheerful Pele leaves hospital after health scare

Tue Dec 9, 2014 1:58pm EST
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By Tatiana Ramil

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A cheerful Pele left hospital on Tuesday after a month of treatment for kidney stones and a urinary tract infection, joking that he was fit again and preparing to play for Brazil in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The 74-year old former Santos and Brazil striker spent several days in intensive care this month but said he was not afraid of dying thanks to his home town of Three Hearts.

"I got the chills but I've felt that before and I was not to know it was an infection," he said of the moment a few weeks ago when he was taken to hospital.

"I was worried. But I can't say I was afraid of dying because I am a man of Three Hearts.

"Rest assured, I am already preparing for the Olympics," he joked at a news conference shortly before leaving the hospital.

"In the Olympics three over-age players are permitted and I am one of them."

Doctors said Pele would have to spend a week to 10 days taking it easy and would undergo physiotherapy.

Pele had surgery on his hip last year and was walking gingerly as he left the hospital.   Continued...

Brazilian soccer legend Pele attends a news conference in Sao Paulo, December 9, 2014.  REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker