Pele “is in better condition” though he remains in a special care unit being treated for a urinary tract infection. The 74-year-old is in hospital in São Paulo receiving renal support treatment, which helps kidneys to filter waste products from the blood, after surgery to remove kidney stones earlier this month. He is not on vasoactive drugs or other supportive therapies, the hospital said. Pelé, often called the greatest player in history, has suffered a long list of health problems in the past decade, including emergency eye surgery for a detached retina and a hip replacement.

His manager, Paul Kemsley, said he was expected to make a full recovery and reports of his condition are being “greatly exaggerated”. Pelé released a statement on Twitter to assure his followers he was on the mend on Thursday evening. He wrote: “Hello everyone, I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I am doing fine. “I was not put into intensive care today, I was simply relocated to a special room within the hospital for privacy purposes only. While I appreciate all the visitors that came to see me, I really need to continue my treatment and recovery in peace. I am blessed to receive your love and support, and thank God this is nothing serious.

  “I am looking forward to spending the upcoming holidays with my family, and will start the New Year with renewed health, with many international trips already planned! Thank you!”

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