Fans of the player, considered by many to be the greatest of all time, are expressing hope for his recovery since his hospitalization in Sao Paulo in late November.
Shortly after midnight, at the start of Christmas Day, Pelé’s daughter Kely Nascimento posted a photo of the footballer’s wife, Marcia Aoki, and other family members gathered at the Albert Einstein Hospital where he is being treated. Pelé was not visible in the image.
“Almost all of us. Merry Christmas. Gratitude, love, union, family. The essence of Christmas. We thank you all for all the love and light you send us,” Kely wrote.
On Wednesday, the hospital announced that Pele’s colon cancer was showing “progression” and that he needed “more extensive care to treat kidney and heart failure”.
Earlier in the day, his daughters had announced that he would not be home for Christmas.
Pelé’s son Edinho – who was recently appointed coach of Brazilian Serie B football club Londrina, based in Parana in the north – arrived on Christmas Eve at the medical centre, where he joined his sisters Kely and Flavia Nascimento .
He posted a photo on Instagram showing him holding the soccer star’s hand, captioned, “Father…my strength is yours.”
Edinho, an ex-keeper, arrived a day after explaining his absence alongside his father to local media.
“I would like to be present, but I am attached to my mission here. I am not a doctor, I could not really help much,” he said in an interview published Friday by the Estadao daily.
On the same day, Kely shared a photo of herself hugging her 82-year-old father in hospital with the caption “one more night together”.
Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has received several messages of support since his hospitalization, including one from the French star Kylian Mbappewho called on supporters to “pray for the king”.
Pelé stormed into the 1958 World Cup aged 17, scoring a hat-trick in the semi-finals and two more goals in the final, catapulting his own career and launching the team’s football dynasty Brazilian national.
He is the only player in history to have won three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970).
In recent years, the man nicknamed “The King” has faced deteriorating health and his public appearances have become rare.
He was hospitalized on November 29 for what his medical team called a reassessment of his chemotherapy treatments, which he has been receiving since undergoing surgery to remove a colon tumor in September 2021.