Soccer’s Pele Likely to Leave Hospital Next Week, Spokesman Says

Three-time World Cup winner Pele probably will leave hospital next week, his spokesman said, hours after a Sao Paulo hospital said he was being moved to a special care unit.

Pele, who was admitted to the Israelita Albert Einstein hospital three days ago after suffering a urinary tract infection, was moved to the special care section because his family was concerned he was getting too many visitors, spokesman Jose Fornos Rodrigues, known as Pepito, said by phone. The 74-year-old underwent a procedure to remove kidney stones earlier this month.

“He’s doing very well,” Pepito said. “He was moved so he could relax and take his medicine in a calm way. I think he’ll be out any day next week.”

Pele, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, won his first World Cup in 1958 as a 17-year-old and added two more in 1962 and 1970. He finished his career playing in the U.S. with the New York Cosmos.

Brazil hosted the World Cup earlier this year, allowing Pele, named “Football Player of the Century” by soccer governing body FIFA and “Athlete of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee, to take center stage again and make millions of dollars in endorsements.

Companies including Swiss watchmaker Hublot SA, Procter & Gamble Co., Volkswagen AG and Emirates airline signed contracts with Pele in the past two years. The deals have meant an increase in Pele’s work load and travel commitments.

“There are weeks when he literally crosses three, four continents working with various partners,” said Misha Sher, director of partnerships and brands at MediaCom Sport and helped broker several of Pele’s endorsements.

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