Legendary Brazil forward Pele is reluctant to leave his house because he cannot walk unaided, his son has said.
The three-time World Cup winner, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, was taken to hospital with a urinary infection last year.
Pele, 79, has had problems with his hip for some time and now needs a frame to walk, with many of his recent public appearances in a wheelchair.
“He is very sheepish, reclusive,” his son Edinho told TV Globo.
Pele scored a world record total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during his 21-year career, including 77 goals in 91 appearances for Brazil.
His health has been a concern in recent years and he had prostate surgery in 2015 after he was admitted to hospital for the second time in six months.
“Imagine, he’s the King, he was always such an imposing figure and today he can’t walk properly,” Edinho explained.
“He’s embarrassed, he doesn’t want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house.
“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.”
This June marks the 50th anniversary of Pele’s final World Cup title, won in Mexico with what many believe to be the greatest team of all time.
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