November 27, 2014 / 6:13 PM / 4 years ago

Soccer great Pele in intensive care, condition improving: hospital

Brazilian soccer legend Pele laughs during the inauguration of a refurbished soccer field at the Mineira slum in Rio de Janeiro September 10, 2014. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes/Files

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Retired Brazilian soccer great Pele is in the intensive care unit in a Sao Paulo hospital where he is being treated for a urinary tract infection, but his condition is improving, the hospital said on Thursday.

The Albert Einstein Hospital said Pele, 74, was receiving renal support treatment, which helps kidneys to filter waste products from the blood, after he had an operation to remove kidney stones earlier this month.

Earlier on Thursday, Pele was moved to a special care unit at the hospital, suffering what the hospital called “clinical instability.” It did not provide details.

After that move, Jose Fornos Rodrigues, the former player’s personal aide, told Reuters that Pele was “completely fine” and had been moved primarily to protect his privacy.

“He was uncomfortable with so many people coming. It’ll be quieter now,” Rodrigues said.

Pele was discharged from the same hospital on Nov. 13 after the kidney stones surgery.

Often called the greatest soccer player in history, Pele has suffered a long list of health problems in the past decade, including emergency eye surgery for a detached retina and a hip replacement.

Reporting by Brian Winter and Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Peter Galloway and Peter Cooney

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