Following last week’s hospitalisation rumours, Brazilian football legend Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has shared on his Instagram that he underwent surgery to remove a “suspicious lesion” last Saturday.

The 80-year-old former offensive midfielder and forward spoke about his operation via Instagram, saying: “Fortunately, I’m used to celebrating great victories alongside you... I will face this match with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and joy for living. Thank God for feeling very well and for allowing Dr Fabio and Dr Miguel to take care of my health.”

The three-time World Cup champion confirmed that the tumour was in his right colon and was discovered last week after testing. Pelé is currently residing at The Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was stated he would remain in intensive care until next Tuesday, where he’ll be transferred into his own room.

Last year, Pelé’s son and ex-goalkeeper, Edinho, announced Pelé had become “embarrassed” to leave his home as he can no longer walk unaided. Pelé’s health has been a cause of concern for many years. In 2015, he had prostate surgery and was admitted into hospital twice in a sixth-month period. 

Currently, it’s not known whether Pelé’s tumour is malignant or benign. The ex-baller’s battery of tests has been sent off for further evaluation. 

Following the announcement, the football industry and players alike shared their support. The official FIFA World Cup Instagram posted prayer emojis alongside green and yellow hearts, and Rayo Vallecano player Radamel Falcao issued a prayer on social media for Pelé.

In his 21-year-long career, Pelé amassed many accolades and is regarded as the best footballer of all time by many. Up to this day, Pelé is Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer and is one of only four ballers in history to score in four different World Cup tournaments. Pelé netted a total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances from 1956 to 1977, gracing Santos FC, the New York Cosmos and the Brazilian national team.

Pelé’s business manager, Joe Fraga, claimed there was no cause for major concern, saying: “He doesn’t do everything in one day.”