Brazilian football legend Pele was hospitalised in Paris late on Tuesday, although he is not in a life-threatening condition.
Pele was admitted to hospital ‘as a precaution’ with a strong fever after earlier attending a social function in Paris with French star Kylian Mbappe.
After praising one another for months, Pele and Mbappe finally met at an event organised by a Swiss watchmaker in a lavish Parisian hotel.
According to French website RMC Sport, Pele was taken from his hotel to the hospital on Tuesday night and remains there as of Wednesday afternoon.
A representative for Pele in Brazil could not immediately be reached for comment.
Pele, 78, has suffered with poor health for some time – he was initially set to meet Mbappe last November but the event was postponed until April, according to French media reports.
At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro he was unable to light the Olympic torch, and at the 2018 World Cup draw he was in a wheelchair due to hip pain.
In November 2014, he was placed in intensive care suffering from a serious urinary tract infection.
After scoring twice in Brazil’s 5-2 win against Sweden in the final of 1958, when he was just 17, Pele went on to win another two World Cups with Brazil in 1962 and 1970. He is the only man to win the tournament three times.
He is regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time.
He was the joint winner of FIFA’s player of the century award in 1999, and the same year was named athlete of the century by the International Olympic Committee.
Pele spent the vast majority of his club days in Brazil with Santos before a swansong in the USA with New York Cosmos, and is commonly reported to have scored more than 1,000 goals in his career, including 77 in 92 matches for Brazil.
He made his club debut at 15 and his international bow aged 16.
At the event with Mbappe, Pele heaped praise of the 19-year-old.
They are the only two footballers to have scored in the World Cup final as teenagers.
“I think he is envying me, that’s why he is trying to emulate me,’ a relaxed Pele joked after they were introduced on a small stage.
“His style, the way he is playing, is Latino. Even Brazilian I would say. It’s a shame he did not play for Santos, but it’s not too late.”
Asked about Mbappe’s main qualities, Pele said he was impressed by his pace and intelligence: “He is unpredictable. He is changing his game all the time. It’s his main advantage.”
The French forward said he believes it’s ‘statistically possible’ to match Pele’s incredible scoring record, but that ‘it would be unreal’ if he did.
Mbappe said: “It might be possible if you count the goals scored on PlayStation, but even if with the goals scored at training, it will be difficult.”