Pele has revealed he is very well despite "a little step back" this week in his recovery after surgery to remove a tumour from his colon earlier this month.

The three-time World Cup winner was expected to return home shortly after he left intensive care at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

However, reports in Brazil on Friday stated the 80-year-old was back in the ICU but his daughter later that night sought to reassure the football community over his health before the Santos great also provided a social-media update.

"My friends, I am still recovering very well. Today I received visits from family members and I continue to smile every day. Thank you for all the love I get from you," Pele said on Instagram.

Hours before, his daughter Kely Nascimento posted a picture with her father - one she said she had just taken - to Instagram on Friday night saying that her father was "recovering well".

The hospital has also confirmed that the global footballing icon is in a stable condition and in post-operative recovery, saying Pele "presented a brief respiratory instability" and was admitted to an ICU as a "preventive measure." After he was stabilized, it said he had been moved to "semi-intensive care" and was now "stable from a cardiovascular and respiratory point of view".

"Hi friends. I don't know what is going on with the rumours out there, but my DMs are booming!!! There’s already a lot of anxiety roaming the world these days and we don’t want to be the reason for more," Nascimento wrote on Instagram.

"This photo was taken just now. He is wearing a vest because he is Santista and the cold in SP (Sao Paulo) bothers him!

"He is recovering well and within normal range. Promise! The normal recovery scenario for a man of his age, after an operation like this, is sometimes two steps forward and one step back.

"Yesterday he was tired and took a little step back. Today he took two forwards!

"I want to thank again, and always, the brilliant team here at Einstein and even more gratitude for all of the good energy that you are transmitting."

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ESPN Brasil had earlier reported that the three-time World Cup winner, was re-admitted to the ICU due to acid reflux.

He had a colon tumor removed this month and was transferred out of the ICU on Tuesday.

The former striker revealed on September 6 a "suspicious lesion" had been detected during tests, prompting surgeons to operate, but vowed to tackle it "with a smile on my face".

On Tuesday after thanking fans for their well-wishes, he added on Instagram: "I have already left the ICU and I am in my room.

"I continue every day happier, with a lot of disposition to play 90 minutes, plus extra time."

Pele has suffered from hip problems for years and cannot walk unaided. His public appearances were already being cut before the Covid-19 pandemic and since then he has made few unnecessary forays outside his house near Santos.

Perhaps football’s first world superstar, he rose to international prominence when he helped Brazil win the 1958 World Cup as a 17-year-old, repeating the feat in 1962 and 1970.

Officially, he scored 757 goals during a glittering career – club Santos claim his tally was closer to 1,000 – leaving him behind only only Cristiano Ronaldo and Josef Biscan on the all-time list.