Brazil fans at World Cup show support for Pele

Brazilian fans showed their support for soccer great Pele ahead of the national team’s match against Cameroon at the World Cup on Friday.

The 82-year-old Pele, who had a colon tumor removed last year, was hospitalized Tuesday in Sao Paulo to regulate his medication.

Doctors said Friday he had a respiratory infection and would remain in the hospital being treated with antibiotics, according to the Hospital Albert Einstein.

“The medical staff diagnosed a respiratory infection, which has been treated with antibiotics. His response has been good and the patient, who is in the regular room, is stable with better healthy condition. The former player still be hospitalized in the next days to maintain the treatment,” the hospital said in a statement.

Fans in Qatar displayed a banner with the image of Pele holding a soccer ball behind one of the goals at Lusail Stadium. They also opened a large flag with an image of the Brazil great and the words: “Pele. Get well soon.” One fan in the stands held up a jersey with a photo of Pele on it.

Another large image of Pele could be seen on a building near the venue, along with the messages “get well soon” and “we love Pele.”

Brazilian fans who gathered before the match against Cameroon had Pele in mind, singing songs about him and sending him well-wishes.

Pele thanked fans in an Instagram post late Thursday for the well-wishes he’s received in a fight against cancer. He had a colon tumor removed in September 2021 and has since gone through chemotherapy.

Neither the hospital nor his family has said whether the former footballer’s cancer has spread to other organs. He has checked in with the hospital every month.

The hospital confirmed on Friday that the three-time World Cup winner has had to regulate his chemotherapy medication.

A source told ESPN Brasil that Pele has been treated for the condition of anasarca, generalized edema and decompensated heart failure.

Pele’s manager did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Kely Nascimento, one of Pele’s daughters, extended her father’s thankful message to Qatar and Brazil coach Tite, who sent positive messages to the former footballer.

Pele helped Brazil win the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains the team’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 matches.