Pele praised the “brilliant” Lionel Messi for breaking his record as the top goal scorer in the South American national team on Saturday but apologized for the delay in offering his congratulations.
Messi’s hat-trick in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on September 9 came just four days after surgery on a suspected colon tumor of Brazilian legend Pele.
Pele wrote on Instagram, “Hello Alumni, I’m sorry if I’m late.
“Your skills are great while playing football! I hope you have even more success with your friends @ k.mbappe and neymarjr (in PSG).”
Messi surpassed Pele’s record of 77 international goals and is now proud of 79 in his career.
On Friday, Pele’s daughter said her 80-year-old father had taken “several steps” toward recovery since his operation three weeks ago.
“In these last days, he has taken a number of steps,” Pele said in a message on Instagram with photos of the two smiling.
“He taught me how to play cards and he was beating me with his hand,” he added.
On Wednesday, Nascimento posted a video of Pele singing the anthem of his former club Santos.
Considered by many to be the greatest footballer ever, Pele’s health has deteriorated in recent years, and he has a variety of conditions in hospital.