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Pele spokesperson denies hospital reports

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Pele pictured during the opening event of the 2018 Carioca Football Championship at Cidade das Artes in Rio de Janeiro on January 15, 2018 © AFP/File / Mauro PIMENTEL

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jan 19 – Pele’s spokesperson dismissed reports the footballing legend had been hospitalised on Friday, saying the 77-year-old was resting at home.

The Brazilian cancelled a trip to London this weekend for a dinner in his honour with the English Football Writers’ Association (FWA), with the FWA saying he had collapsed from exhaustion and been taken to hospital.

But his spokesperson branded those reports as “fake news”.

Pele made his first public appearance since December’s World Cup draw with a zimmer frame in Rio de Janeiro on Monday.

“He said he’s not going because it’s going to be very tiring, very stressful,” said Pepito Fornos.

“He had this trip to England, but the trip to Rio was very tiring and so to face another trip, with transits at several airports, wasn’t possible.”

Pele — the only player to win three World Cups — has struggled with ill health and was unable to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Games.

Pele “has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion”, said the FWA earlier on Friday.

“He is on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery. Thankfully there is no suggestion of anything more serious.”

Pele helped inspire Brazil to World Cup victories in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

He scored 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during his 21-year career, including a Brazilian record 77 goals in 92 international appearances.

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