(Reuters) - Pele said he is ready for "90 minutes, plus extra time" after leaving the intensive care unit (ICU) of a Sao Paulo hospital following surgery to remove a tumour from the Brazilian soccer great's colon.
The 80-year-old, three-times World Cup winner was admitted to Alberto Einstein hospital after the tumour was found during routine tests. The tumour was removed earlier this month and sent for analysis.
"My friends, this is a message for each of you. Don't think for a minute that I haven't read the thousands of loving messages I've received around here," Pele said on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CT0CGIJF2Mi.
"Thank you very much to each one of you, who dedicated a minute of your day to send me positive energy. Love, love and love! I have already left the ICU and I am in my room.
"I continue every day happier, with a lot of disposition to play 90 minutes, plus extra time. We will be together soon!"
Pele has suffered from hip problems for years and cannot walk unaided. His public appearances were already being cut before the COVID-19 pandemic and since then he has made few unnecessary forays outside his house near Santos.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)