Soccer great, the Brazilian Pele, is in ill health just as the 2022 World Cup is taking place.
Pele is reportedly receiving “End of Life” care at a hospital in Brazil, according to Yahoo Sports. Just a few days ago, O Globo, the Brazilian daily had reported he was in good spirits and did not need any special care while in the hospital for a bronchial condition.
The 82-year-old Pele, widely considered world football’s GOAT, has been battling colon cancer and has had several surgeries in the past few years. His ill health and age have been a source of concern for all Brazilians for whom he is a special entity. While the 2022 World Cup is taking place in Doha, Qatar, building lights in that host city showed an image of the idol with a message wishing him a quick recovery.
The Guardian, reporting on the coverage of Brazil’s other main daily, Folha de Sao Paulo, stated that “The King, Pele” is no longer responding to chemotherapy for his cancer and that he is now receiving palliative care. Folha then continued to show a video of the drone-lights show FIFA produced to honor the king, a number 10 jersey with his name being displayed in the night sky.
The current Brazilian team came into the 2022 World Cup as the overall tournament favorite but has had six injury scares two of which have come to haunt them as Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles have been ruled out of the cup. The poor officiating in the Serbia v Brazil match saw Alex Sandro and Neymar, the team’s top player, injured so severely they have yet to play again. Though both might join their fifth recuperating teammate, Danilo, in returning to action, there is no date given for when they might participate again in this cup.
Brazil’s coach, Tite, is trying to come up with alternate scenarios for his team as four of his six injuries are to his wingbacks and Neymar is the central figure in the team’s overall strategic setup. The news of Pele’s health has been taken as an omen by the Brazilians who believe the King will remain alive until the end of the cup in order to celebrate their cup-winning performance, before, poetically, bidding adieu.
Photo: Pele, Shutterstock ID: 179928386, by Kostas Soutsaftikis.