Health of Pele, soccer superstar hospitalized in Brazil, improving -doctors

FILE PHOTO: Legendary Brazilian soccer player Pele poses for a portrait with his 1958 World Cup trophy during an interview in New York, U.S., April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian soccer superstar Pele was showing "progressive improvement" after the 82-year-old was hospitalized last week to re-evaluate his treatment for colon cancer, according to a medical report released on Tuesday.

Pele was also being treated for a respiratory infection, remained in a regular hospital room with stable vital signs and was conscious, medical staff at Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Hospital told reporters.

One of the greatest footballers of all time, Pele had a tumor removed from his colon in September last year and has been receiving medical care for ailments on a regular basis.

"The patient continues to show progressive improvement in his general condition, in particular the respiratory infection," doctors said in a statement.

On Monday, Pele took to social media to show his support for Brazil's national team in their World Cup round of 16 match against South Korea, saying he would watch the game from hospital.

The heavily favored Brazilians beat the South Korean squad 4-1 on Monday night to advance to the quarter-finals.

During the game, Brazil's players unfurled a banner on the pitch with a photo of the soccer great during his 1970 World Cup win that simply read: "Pele!"

The former striker played for Brazil and club sides Santos and the New York Cosmos, helping lead his country to three World Cup championships - in 1958, 1962 and 1970 - a feat no other player has achieved.

(Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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