November 29, 2014 / 11:24 PM / 4 years ago

Soccer legend Pelé's health improving, still in intensive care

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

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian soccer legend Pelé’s health continued to improve on Saturday although he remained in an intensive care unit to allow doctors to monitor a urinary tract infection, the hospital said.

The 74-year-old three-time World Cup champion is receiving renal support treatment to help his kidneys filter waste products from the blood. He underwent surgery earlier this month to remove kidney stones.

According to a statement released by São Paulo’s Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, Pelé - often called the greatest soccer player in history - is “lucid, talking, and his respiratory and blood readings are stable.” A treatment with antibiotics remained unaltered, the statement said.

The renal treatment could be stopped early on Sunday, the hospital said in a separate statement.

Pelé, who was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has struggled with many health problems over the past decade. He has had emergency eye surgery for a detached retina and a hip replacement.

Known in Brazil as the “King of soccer,” he played in four World Cups and scored over 1,000 goals during his career.

Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Pravin Char and Gunna Dickson

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