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Soccer legend Pelé’s cancer worsens—hits kidneys, heart

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SãO PAULO—Pelé’s health has worsened during his hospital stay to regulate his cancer medication, doctors said Wednesday.

The Albert Einstein hospital in São Paulo said in a statement Wednesday that Pelé’s cancer has advanced and that the 82-year-old Brazilian soccer great is under “elevated care” related to “kidney and cardiac dysfunctions.”

The hospital did not mention any signs of the three-time World Cup winner’s recent respiratory infection, which was aggravated by Covid-19.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who is globally known as Pelé, is undergoing chemotherapy in his fight against cancer since he had a colon tumor removed in September 2021. Neither his family nor the hospital have said whether it had spread to other organs.

Kely Nascimento, one of his daughters, said Pelé will stay in the hospital during Christmas.

“We decided with doctors that, for many reasons, it will be best for us to stay here, with all the care that this new family at Einstein gives us,” she wrote on Instagram. “We will even make some caipirinhas (no kidding). We love you and we will give up an update next week.”

Newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported Saturday that Pelé’s chemotherapy is not working and that doctors had decided to put him on palliative care. Pelé’s family denied that report. The Associated Press could not confirm the newspaper’s information.

Pelé led Brazil to victory the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains one of the team’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals. Neymar tied Pelé’s record during the latest World Cup.

Several tributes and get-well soon wishes were made for the former footballer during the Qatar tournament, which was won by Argentina on Sunday.

The French soccer federation, meanwhile, wants to go after social media users who targeted some of the national team’s players with racist comments following France’s loss to Argentina in the World Cup final.

The federation said Tuesday that some players were hit by “unacceptable racist and hateful comments on social networks” and that it planned to file a complaint against those that posted abuse.

“The French soccer federation condemns with the utmost firmness these intolerable behaviors and abuses,” it said in a statement.

French government officials have expressed their indignation following the insults. Isabelle Rome, the minister in charge of gender equality, said Kylian Mbappé and Kinglsey Coman were among those abused.

Mbappé and Coman are Black.

Coman’s club, Bayern Munich, also condemned the racist comments targeting the winger, one of the French players who missed during the penalty shootout that decided Sunday’s final.

“The FC Bayern family is behind you, King. Racism has no place in sport or our society,” Bayern wrote on Twitter.

French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera tweeted her support to Coman and all the players abused, saying the heinous comments “have no place in soccer or anywhere else.”

Anti-racism group SOS Racisme said in a statement that some players had to disable comments on their Instagram accounts because of “a torrent of racist slurs, with hundreds of users on the social network posting comments likening them to apes, slaves, or even urging them to go back to the jungle.”

The NGO said it will file a complaint.

France twice fought back for a 3-3 draw through extra time in Qatar before Argentina won a penalty shootout to cap one of the most exciting finals in World Cup history. Coman had an attempt saved by Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez and Aurelien Tchouameni then missed for France. AP

Image credits: AP

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