Rio de Janeiro, June 11 (IANS) Brazilian soccer icon Pele’s presence at the inaugural World Cup match on June 14 remains a suspense as his scheduled trip to Russia has been cancelled due to ill health.
“He is feeling ill. He has problems in his legs,” his spokesperson told reporters, adding the situation would only be clearer by Tuesday, Efe news reported.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the soccer legend — who won the Jules Rimet Cup, used as the World Cup trophy from 1930-1970, three times — is one of the main invited guests at the opening ceremony in Moscow’s national Luzhniki Stadium, where the home team will go up against the Saudi Arabians.
The Brazilian star first took part in a World Cup match in 1958, going up against the Russian squad in 1958 in Sweden.
Pele, 77, has undergone several spinal, femur and cartilage operations of late, which have forced him to curtail his public appearances.
He has expressed concern about the Brazilian team saying the squad has not come together yet as a unit. He said it was the teams that won the past World Cups, not individuals.