SAO PAULO — Pele appeared at a World Economic Forum event in Sao Paulo on Wednesday using a walker, but later said his mobility is slowly returning following a second hip surgery.
The 77-year-old Brazil great, a three-time World Cup winner, joked that he’s not ready to get back to playing soccer anytime soon, though.
“I am well, but I cannot assure that I will play in the World Cup in Russia,” Pele said at the event. “My movements are starting to come back, it is great.”
Pele was handed an award for his career at the event but had to remain seated throughout the presentation. Upon his arrival with the walker, Pele said it was his “new car.”
In January, Pele appeared with a walker for the first time at an event in Rio de Janeiro. Later, he skipped an award ceremony in England so he could rest at home.
Spokesman Pepito Fornos told The Associated Press that Pele is still planning to attend this year’s World Cup.
Fornos also said Pele has reduced his schedule to do more physiotherapy.
While answering questions during the event, Pele said Argentina’s Lionel Messi is his current favorite player overall, named Cristiano Ronaldo as the best striker and picked Neymar as the next in line.
“I come from a city called Three Hearts, I have one for each of them,” Pele said.
Asked once more about who should be considered the best player ever, Pele said he would pick Diego Maradona.
“But then my mom would be very upset with me, I have to choose Pele, then,” he said.