After a health scare that some feared may have been the end for Brazilian soccer great Pele, the three-time World Cup winner was released from a Sao Paulo hospital this week. The 74-year-old even joked about rumors about the severity of his health problems.
“I wasn’t afraid of dying as I am a man with three hearts,” Pele said Tuesday (via the Telegraph), a reference to his birthplace, Tres Coracoes, which means “three hearts” in Portuguese. He then joked about feeling good enough to join the Brazilian squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
“I am preparing for the Olympics!” Pele told reporters while leaving the hospital. “Three professionals can play in the Olympics. I’m one of the three!”
Pele was hospitalized late last month for complications from a suspected a previous kidney stone surgery, the Associated Press reports. Pele has just one kidney and had to undergo hemodialysis, which kept him in the hospital for 15 days. He was even briefly put in intensive care.
Speaking more seriously, he said (via the Telegraph):
“It was a real fright. We were at the Pele museum in Santos when I caught an infection and couldn’t attend an autograph signing session. But thank God I am well, I’m better now.”
Pele’s already planning his next moves. On Wednesday, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced Pele would attend their 2015 convention as a special guest. Pele later retweeted the announcement.