Sao Paulo: Brazilian soccer great Pelé turns 80 Friday, but the celebration will have to wait. The three-time World Cup winner will spend the day isolated with a few family members outside this city. Pele however is expected to receive a flood of tributes from players, fans, celebrities and politicians.
Pele’s long-time spokesman, Pepito Fornos, said the legendary footballer will spend his birthday at his mansion in the beachfront city of Guarujá. He has been staying at the place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also has residences in Santos and Sao Paulo.
“He will only stay with his family. No party at all,” Fornos said. “That has been the case all his life,” he added. Fornos informed Pelé isn’t speaking publicly because he is still mourning his brother Jair, who died of cancer in March.
Pelé is Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals. However, Neymar is closing in on that record with 64. But the Paris Saint-Germain striker trails far behind when it comes to World Cup titles. Pele was part of the team that won the World Cup in in 1958, 1962 and 1970. No other player has accomplished that feat.
Pelé also collected a slew of trophies for Brazilian club Santos from 1956-74, including 10 Sao Paulo state league titles, six Brazilian championships, two Copa Libertadores titles and the Intercontinental Cup in 1962 and 1963.
The Brazilian ended his career with the New York Cosmos, where he played from 1975-77.
The soccer great has had mobility problems since a failed hip replacement surgery in 2012. He has been forced to use walkers and wheelchairs in public. He has also been admitted to hospitals in recent years for kidney and prostate procedures.