Soccer legend Pele has played down fears over his mental health after the Brazilian’s son suggested he had become depressed due to his inability to walk unaided.
Edinho had said his 79-year-old father was reluctant to even leave the house following complications with his recovery from hip surgery, but Pele has announced he is “fine.”
“Thank you for your prayers and concerns,” Pele said in a statement Friday.
“I’m turning 80 this year. I have my good and bad days. This is normal for people my age. I am not afraid, I am determined, I am confident in what I do.”
His son has since sought to clarify his initial comments, saying his statement was taken in “little context” and suggested his words had been confused in translation.
“A word depression is an emotional state, it is not a clinical picture or a diagnosis that I made. It was simply a frustration,” he said.
“It is not a clinical picture, it is an intimate view of the child. And, it had this unfortunate repercussion.”
‘Keep the ball rolling’
Pele is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time and won three World Cups during an incredible career that spanned more than 20 years.
He has not shied away from the spotlight since retiring from the game but many of his recent public appearances have been in a wheelchair.
However, Pele says the last 12 months have been as busy as ever.
“Last week, I had the honor of meeting the CBF president in the studio where I was recording my documentary,” he added. “I had two photo sessions last month for campaigns that use my image and testimony.
“I have several upcoming events scheduled. I do not avoid meeting commitments from my always busy schedule.
“I continue to accept my physical limitations in the best possible way, but I intend to keep the ball rolling. God bless you all.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup final win, with that Brazilian team widely regarded to be the best of all time.
Pele was a crucial member of the side that outplayed Italy to win 4-1 in the final on June 21, 1970.