Brazilian legend Pele is 'depressed' and 'embarrassed to leave the house' due to poor health, his son says

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Pele, considered by most as the greatest soccer player ever and a three-time World Cup champion for Brazil, is battling depression as a result of his poor health and inability to walk without assistance, according to his son. 

The 79-year-old is reluctant to leave his home following complications from hip surgery, his son Edinho said in an interview with Brazilian publication Globo Esporte. According to Reuters, Pele had a preparatory operation at the Special Surgery hospital in New York on Dec. 3 and was admitted into the American Hospital of Paris in April of 2019 for a urinary tract infection. 

"He is quite fragile," Edinho said. "He underwent a hip replacement and did not have adequate, ideal rehabilitation. So he has this mobility problem, which has caused a kind of depression ... Imagine, he is the king, he was always such an imposing figure, and today he can no longer walk properly."

His son said the health issues have left the legend embarrassed to leave the house.

"He's embarrassed, he doesn't want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house. He is reclusive," Edinho said. "He can't walk normally, only with the walker. It improved a little compared to [using a wheelchair], but he still has a lot of difficulty walking."

Pele was born in 1940 and played for Santos from 1956-1974 before joining the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League from 1975-1977. He won the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups with Brazil and is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Brazilian national team with 77 goals. Pele, who scored a combined 1,283 goals through official matches and friendlies, is often compared to Argentina's Diego Maradona in the discussion for the greatest player of all time. He's also credited with helping drastically increase the popularity of the sport in the United States with his arrival to the Cosmos. 

Here's hoping a man synonymous with the world's most popular sport is back on his feet before long and no longer dealing with depression. 

CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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