HEALTH WORRIES: Retired Brazilian soccer player Pele.
HEALTH WORRIES: Retired Brazilian soccer player Pele. ANTONIO LACERDA

Doubts over Pele lighting flame

BRAZILIAN football superstar Pele might struggle to light the flame at tomorrow's opening ceremony for the Rio Olympic Games because of ill health.

There had been doubts the 75-year-old three-time World Cup winner would make the event because of prior engagements, but his spokesman said he would make it as long as he was fit enough.

Pele has undergone several hip operations and walks with a cane but spokesman Jose Fornos Rodrigues said his client would be there if he was physically able.

"Getting free is not a problem now, but he has muscle pain, which is affecting his mobility,” he said.

"He has gone to the doctor to see how things are.

"We still don't know whether he can take part in the lighting of the cauldron, but he's trying.”

On Wednesday, Pele told Globo television he was asked to light the flame in Rio by the head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach.

Pele is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time.


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