Brazil legend Pele said he is getting "closer to the goal" as he continues his recovery following surgery to remove a tumour in September.

The three-time World Cup winner required an operation to remove a colon tumour and has since continued undergoing chemotherapy as part of the rehabilitation process.

Pele, who turns 81 on October 23, has been in poor health but provided another update on Wednesday after his discharge from the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo last month.

"I suggest you start to catch your breath to celebrate with me, because with each passing day I get closer to the goal," the former Santos, New York Cosmos and Brazil star wrote on Twitter.

Pele is the only player to hold three World Cup winner's medals, lifting the trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

The 80-year-old is also one of just four players to score in four different World Cups, while he remains Brazil's all-time leading goalscorer - having found the back of the net 77 times in 92 appearances for the Selecao.

Brazil great Pele said he was "punching the air" after recovering sufficiently to be discharged from hospital on Thursday. 

The three-time World Cup winner underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his colon and spent time in the intensive care unit at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo. 

Pele, who will turn 81 in October, was delighted to be returning home to continue his rehabilitation.

"When the path is difficult, celebrate each step of the journey. Focus on your happiness," Pele wrote in an Instagram post. 

"It's true that I can't jump anymore, but these past few days, I've been punching the air more times than usual. I am so happy to be back at home. 

"I want to thank the entire Albert Einstein Hospital team, who made my stay a pleasant one, with a humane and very affectionate welcome. 

"Thanks also to all of you, who from afar, make my life complete with so many messages of love." 

Pele remains Brazil's all-time leading goalscorer, having found the back of the net 77 times in 92 appearances for his country.   

Pele's daughter has revealed the Brazil legend is "recovering well" amid reports he has been readmitted to intensive care. 

The 80-year-old, Brazil's all-time leading goalscorer, has been in Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Hospital since undergoing surgery to remove a tumour from his colon. 

Pele revealed earlier in the week that he had left intensive care, stating in an Instagram post that he was ready to "play 90 minutes, plus extra time" as he continued his recovery. 

With Brazilian media on Friday reporting he had been readmitted, Kely Nascimento, Pele's daughter, took to social media to offer an encouraging update, along with a picture of her smiling father. 

She wrote: "He's recovering well and within the frame of normal. I promise!" 

Nascimento added: "After a surgery like that, sometimes it's two steps forward and one step back. Yesterday he was tired and stepped back. Today he gave two forwards!" 

The Brazil great is one of just four players to score in four different World Cups and managed 77 goals in 92 appearances for his country before retiring from international duty in 1971. 

Pele remains in hospital but is recovering well after having surgery to remove a tumour from his large intestine.

The Brazil legend, who is one of just four players to score in four different World Cups, has been in Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Hospital since August 31 undergoing routine tests to combat the colon tumour.

Brazil's all-time leading goal scorer released another update on Instagram about his health, following on from his post on Monday that explained he had undertaken surgery.

"My friends, with each passing day I feel a little better," Pele posted on Friday.

"I'm looking forward to playing again, but I'm still going to recover for a few more days.

"While I'm here, I take the opportunity to talk a lot with my family and to rest. Thanks again for all the loving messages. We'll be together again soon!"

Earlier in the week, Argentina captain Lionel Messi overtook Pele as South America's leading goalscorer in men's international football with a hat-trick in Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia.

Lionel Messi is leaving behind a legacy for Argentina after surpassing Pele as the all-time leading goalscorer for a South American nation, according to "proud" head coach Lionel Scaloni.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner scored a hat-trick in Thursday's 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Bolivia to overtake Brazil great Pele as CONMEBOL's top-scoring player.

Messi's 79 goals for Argentina have come in 153 appearances, compared to 77 in 92 caps for Pele, who had held the record since retiring from international duty in 1971.

It is the latest on a long list of records to have been broken by the ex-Barcelona star for club and country, and it comes two months after helping Argentina to win the Copa America.

La Albiceleste paraded the trophy – their first in 28 years – around the pitch at the Monumental at full-time and an emotional Messi broke down in tears.

Scaloni embraced Messi on the field and later hailed the Paris Saint-Germain forward for continuing to prove decisive for his country following his latest treble.

"I am proud to have him as a player. Messi is leaving a legacy to all the soccer players of the national team," Scaloni said at his post-match news conference.

"Messi was always a player who made a difference. Before and now. Winning magnified everything, and if before he was already an idol of the people, now it is much more. 

"Seeing them excited fills us with joy, but it lasts [only] until this international window is over, because afterwards we have to continue working."

 

Messi's hat-trick was his seventh for Argentina but his first on home soil and it helped extend his country's unbeaten run to 22 matches in a run stretching back to July 2019.

He is the only Argentina player to have scored multiple hat-tricks in World Cup qualifying.

Scaloni's men are second in the 10-team qualifying group, six points behind Brazil, whom they still have to face after last week's high-profile clash was controversially suspended.

Argentina also defeated Venezuela 3-1 in the same international window and Scaloni is pleased with what he has seen over the past week.

"I think we have a line of work from day one and we have grown," he said. "We've improved and corrected things even when we've won.

"This team has sacrifice, humility and an ability to unbalance other players in one-on-one situations."

Lionel Messi was overcome with emotion as he fulfilled a "dream" by eclipsing Brazil great Pele as the all-time leading scorer for a South American nation.

Messi scored a hat-trick as Argentina cruised to a 3-0 victory over Bolivia in Thursday's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier and those goals took him past Pele.

His first, a curling effort after a cheeky nutmeg, saw him go level with Pele on 77, before a close-range finish just past the hour saw him set a new record.

He then added another for good measure at the end to complete his hat-trick and reach 79 goals for Argentina on a momentous night at the Monumental.

With La Albiceleste also finally able to celebrate July's Copa America triumph – a first in 28 years – in front of their own supporters at full-time, record-breaker Messi failed to hold back the tears.

"I have dreamed of this for a long time and I thank God it was given to me," he said on the pitch afterwards.

 

"It is a unique moment because of how it happened and after so much waiting.

"There was no better way for it to be and to be able to be here, celebrating, is something incredible.

"My mother and my brothers are up there, they suffered a lot too. I'm very happy."

It was Messi's seventh hat-trick for his country, but his first on home soil and ensured Argentina extended their unbeaten run to 22 matches, a streak that began in 2019.

It was further proof that Argentina are building themselves back up to a standard many associate with the two-time World Cup winners after a poor showing at Russia 2018, a tournament that essentially led to a reset.

Messi's international future at the time was in doubt as he took an extended break from international football – back then, many would have suggested Pele's record looked set to outlast Argentina's talisman.

"I cannot do more than be so happy, for my family who is watching me and for all Argentines," Messi continued.

"I always say individual awards are secondary, because we are here for something else, but the truth is I am very excited."

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi created more history, surpassing Pele as the all-time leading goalscorer for a South American nation on Thursday.

Messi scored his 78th international goal for Argentina in their World Cup qualifier against Bolivia, breaking the record held by Brazil great Pele.

A six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi had moved level with Pele with his opening goal of the match on Thursday before his brace sent him clear in the record books.

Messi produced a moment of magic in the 14th minute, playing the ball through his opponent's legs before curling a shot past the goalkeeper in Buenos Aires, where the 34-year-old then made history in the 64th minute to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

Next on the list of leading CONMEBOL scorers after Messi is Pele (77), then Uruguay's Luis Suarez (64), followed by Chile forward Alexis Sanchez (46) and Peru star Paolo Guerrero (38).

It is not the first time Messi has eclipsed Pele, having surpassed the Santos icon with the most goals for an individual club with his 644th in Barcelona colours in December.

It comes after Messi guided Argentina to Copa America glory in July, ending the country's 28-year wait for silverware with his first senior international crown.

 

Lionel Messi has equalled Brazil great Pele's record as the top-scoring player of all time for a South American nation with his 77th goal for Argentina.

The 34-year-old equalled the long-standing record when he opened the scoring for Argentina in their World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on Thursday.

Messi produced a moment of magic in the 15th minute, playing the ball through his opponent's legs before curling a shot past the goalkeeper in Buenos Aires.

Next on the list of leading CONMEBOL scorers after Messi and Pele is Uruguay's Luis Suarez (64), followed by Chile forward Alexis Sanchez (46) and Peru star Paolo Guerrero (38).

Messi is now poised to eclipse Pele and not for the first time, having surpassed the Santos icon with the most goals for an individual club with his 644th in Barcelona colours in December.

It comes after Messi guided Argentina to Copa America glory in July, ending the country's 28-year wait for silverware with his first senior international crown.

 

Pele has revealed he last week underwent successful surgery to remove a tumour in his large intestine.

The Brazil legend, who won three World Cups, had previously taken to Instagram to deny claims he had fainted, posting he was "in very good health" after "routine exams".

However, Pele reportedly remained in hospital and on Monday explained why he had required medical attention.

"Last Saturday I underwent surgery to remove a suspicious lesion in the right colon," the 80-year-old wrote on his social media page.

"The tumour was identified during the tests I mentioned last week. Fortunately, I'm used to celebrating great victories alongside you.

"I will face this match with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and joy for living surrounded by the love of my family and friends."

Pele told Kylian Mbappe to "keep your head up" after the France striker missed the shoot-out penalty that condemned Les Bleus to an early exit from Euro 2020.

As Switzerland celebrated a stunning win in Bucharest, prevailing on spot-kicks after a breathtaking 3-3 draw in the round of 16, Brazil great Pele had sympathy for misfiring Mbappe, who endured a miserable tournament.

Although Mbappe has established himself among the best strikers in the world with Paris Saint-Germain, he failed to find the back of the net in four games at these European finals.

The 22-year-old seemed fated to flounder from the spot once the game went to penalties, and that was how it proved, Mbappe stepping up with France trailing 5-4 and seeing his strike saved by Yann Sommer.

"Keep your head up, Kylian!" Pele wrote on Twitter. "Tomorrow is the first day of a new journey, @KMbappe"

Mbappe said in a late-night Instagram post that it would be "hard to sleep but sadly these are the risks of this sport that I love so much".

He failed to score in the tournament despite taking 14 shots. At the point of France's tournament exit, only Cristiano Ronaldo (five goals from 15 shots) and Alvaro Morata (two goals from 15 shots) had taken more goal attempts in the Euros.

A World Cup winner with France as a 19-year-old, this time Mbappe experienced the bitter disappointment of tournament football.

 

As France licked their wounds, Switzerland began to look forward to a quarter-final against Spain in St Petersburg on Friday.

Switzerland head coach Vladimir Petkovic said his team's win was "very pleasing and very significant".

"I wasn't able to speak and talk towards the end of the match. I was done, I'd lost my voice," Petkovic told a news conference.

"But the team over the 120 minutes did a fantastic job with this readiness to fight for the team and we managed to impose our game and follow our match plan.

"We had enough fuel in the tank, maybe more than France, and we showed that over the 120 minutes."

Petkovic suggested he had probably sweated out "a couple of litres" during the game.

He said: "After such a great success you're happy and satisfied – this was the icing on the cake, a penalty shoot-out, and it was the only penalty Yann saved and I was happy for the team but I needed a lot of emotions over the 120 minutes and such a victory helps us mentally and also in terms of recognition.

"This team showed the willingness and has the power to go even further."

France led 3-1 when Paul Pogba hit a stunning 25-yard strike in the 75th minute, after an earlier Karim Benzema double, but Haris Seferovic's second goal of the game was followed by a late leveller by Mario Gavranovic.

"For normal people and players it's impossible to turn it around again, but we were a super class team," Petkovic said.

"With such a performance and commitment you can't be not satisfied, but now we've reached a new level and I will ask my team to do the same again and again."

Brazilian superstar Neymar had quite a few Peruvian players at his mercy with a dazzling display of tricks and skills at COPA America on Thursday.  Eventually, they had enough and the Brazilian was brought down.  Neymar found the back of the net, in the 68th minute, in an easy 4-0 win for the Seleção.  The goal also moved the forward closer to the all-time national scoring record of world football legend Pele.

Neymar scored for the fourth consecutive international to move within nine goals of Pele's all-time scoring record and head coach Tite said there is no limit for his superstar player.

Neymar scored once and played a major role in setting up the other three goals as defending champions Brazil routed Peru 4-0 to make it two wins from two games at the Copa America.

On Thursday, Neymar's strike took his international tally to 68 goals, second overall for Brazil, behind only Selecao great Pele with 77.

Since his 2010 debut, Neymar has scored 49 goals more than any of his international team-mates in that period.

"I don't know where Neymar can reach," Tite said in a post-match news conference. "In terms of technical capacity, I really hope he's always healthy and doesn't get injured."

Neymar was emotional when he spoke to the media post-game, being brought to tears after moving a step closer to Pele's record.

"I didn't see the interview, but I knew he was moved," Tite said.

Since Tite took charge of Brazil in 2016, the Selecao have scored two-plus goals in 37 of the 56 games; 66 per cent of those games scoring more than one goal (W36 D1).

Neymar has not been the only beneficiary of Tite's tenure and the coach spoke about his relationship with his players.

"What is in my relationship with Neymar is the same thing that has with the youngest member of the team, which is Vinicius Junior, loyalty," he said.

"Loyalty in the change-rooms and not publicly expressing adversities without first directing them to the athlete. This is perhaps the greatest experience I bring from my time as a player. I would like my coach to talk to me about my mistakes and not publicly communicate them.

"I know the media is looking for information and that's their role. But my role is always to make things transparent both for Vini Jr, who is the youngest, and for Neymar, one of the more experienced."

Brazil are next in action on Wednesday against Colombia in Rio de Janeiro.

Cristiano Ronaldo explained his "everlasting and unconditional admiration" for Pele after the Juventus star surpassed the Brazil legend's tally to become the top goalscorer in history.

Ronaldo scored a perfect hat-trick on Sunday to inspire Juve to a 3-1 win over Cagliari in Serie A and move onto 770 career goals.

Pele, who spent 18 years with Santos before moving to play in the United States in 1975, scored 757 official goals in his career, helping Brazil win three World Cups.

Ronaldo hit that total in January, but there was some confusion over Pele possibly scoring another 10 goals which could be counted among official statistics – nine for Sao Paulo State and one for the Brazilian Military Team.

As such, Ronaldo insisted he waited until he surpassed 767 goals to celebrate.

"The last few weeks were filled with news and stats considering me the world’s top scorer in football history, overcoming Pele’s 757 official goals," Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.

"Although I'm thankful for that recognition, now it's time for me to explain why I didn't acknowledge that record until this moment.

"My everlasting and unconditional admiration for mister Edson Arantes do Nascimento, such as the respect that I have for mid-20th century football, led me to take into account his 767 scores, assuming his nine goals for Sao Paulo State Team, as well as his single goal for the Brazilian Military Team, as official goals.

"The world has changed since then and football has changed as well, but this doesn't mean that we can just erase history according to our interests

"Today, as I reach the 770 official goals in my professional career, my first words go straight to Pele. There's no player in the world who hasn't been raised listening to stories about his games, his goals and his achievements, and I'm no exception.

"For that reason, I'm filled with joy and pride as I acknowledge the goal that puts me on top of the world's goalscoring list, overcoming Pele's record, something that I could never have dreamed of while growing up as a child from Madeira.

"Thanks to all of those who took part of this amazing journey with me. To my team-mates, to my opponents, to the fans of the beautiful game all over the world and, above all, to my family and close friends: trust me when I say that I couldn't have done it without you."

Prior to Ronaldo's Instagram post, Pele had used his official Twitter account to congratulate the 36-year-old Portugal star.

"Cristiano, what a beautiful journey you are having!" Pele tweeted.

"I admire you a lot and this is no secret to anyone. Congratulations on breaking my record of goals in official matches. I leave this photo in your honour, with great affection, as a symbol of a friendship that has existed for many years."

Pele has denied changing his Instagram bio after Cristiano Ronaldo overtook his haul of 757 goals in official competitions.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo moved on to 758 career goals with a double in Juventus' 4-1 victory over Udinese on Saturday.

It came just two weeks after Brazil great Pele, a three-time World Cup winner, saw his record for the most goals with a single club - 643 at Santos - surpassed by Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

Following Ronaldo's goals against Udinese, Pele was accused of updating his Instagram bio to include "Leading Goal Scorer of All Time (1,283)", a total that remains the subject of much debate.

However, the 80-year-old has refuted the allegation, insisting he is not trying to detract from the achievements of Ronaldo and Messi.

"I was accused by the press of having changed my Instagram bio to overshadow these big stars that are breaking my records," Pele posted on Twitter.

"The bio text has always been the same since I joined the platform. None of this should distract us from their incredible achievements."

Only Czech striker Josef Bican, who is credited with scoring 805 goals, lies ahead of Ronaldo in the all-time goalscoring list.

After Messi scored his 644th goal for Barcelona, Santos published an article on their official website – attributed to club historian Fernando Ribeiro – with the headline, 'King Pele – 1,091 goals for Santos FC'.

Ribeiro claimed that Pele's official haul for Santos was 1,091 when friendlies against some of the world's best teams, including Barca and Inter, were included.

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