Brazil assistant coach César Sampaio asks people to pray for Pelé

Sport

Brazil’s assistant coach César Sampaio has asked people to pray for Pelé, with the 82-year-old three-time World Cup winner in hospital with cancer. Sampaio, who described himself as “blessed” to have been able to play with Pelé, said: “Something you can all do, regardless of your religion, is please say a prayer, do whatever you do and send positive vibes.”

The head coach, Tite, said: “He is the only person I ever met who had me shaking when I met him. I speak from the bottom of my heart, this is an emotional moment for me: I remember it was 2018, there were all these historic people and I didn’t notice.

“Then someone said I could go and hug Pelé. I was shaking, my hands were sweating, my heart beat faster and I said: ‘Wow, I’m going to meet Pelé.’ He is health, he’s the human embodiment of health; that’s what we all feel, and this is a very hard moment.”

Pelé posted on Instagram on Saturday evening to say that he was feeling “strong” and “with hope”, after an outpouring of concern online in response to unconfirmed reports that he had been moved to palliative care.

“I want to keep everyone calm and positive,” Pelé wrote, sharing the latest medical report from São Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital that said he remained in a stable condition. “I follow my treatment as usual.”

Pelé ended his message by calling on fans to watch the Seleção play in the World Cup. Brazil face South Korea in the last 16 in Doha on Monday.