Pele’s Physician – Dr. Alexander Sotiropoulos: He ‘Was an Amazing Man Full of Kindness’

January 2, 2023

“Pele leaves a very big void, because he was not only a super-athlete but also an amazing human being. A kind man with a lot of love for his fellow human beings.” So said a man who knew the ‘King’ – soccer star Pele –well. As one of Pele’s doctor, he had a very close relationship with him. Alexander Sotiropoulos, a urologist and surgeon, spoke to The National Herald from New York, where he is based, about Pele. “It is a great loss for sports in general, but also for Brazil, because he was involved in politics in his country… where for a period he was Minister of Sport,” Sotiropoulos said.

He explained that the beloved soccer legend “died of colon cancer, but he had other major problems, such as mobility problems due to the arthritis in his spine from years ago. Our relationship was very close but mostly medical. He had come from Brazil and I operated on him because he had kidney cancer and it went very well. At that time we had looked for other forms of cancer and he had nothing.”

Dr. Sotiropoulos acknowledged that he had the good fortune to know Pele as a person. “I will always remember him as a very good man, a very good family man, a very good father – he loved his children very much. He was a believer in God, something he had taken from his mother. I will never forget his kindness as a human being and his love for his fellow human beings,” said Sotiropoulos.

He emphasized that Pele “had a glow that showed you that he received the love and admiration of the world. Pele was accepted and has been recognised and applauded by the whole world. By all people. Everyone has expressed their admiration for Pele. And not just from within his native Brazil – he was embraced and had earned the respect of the whole world.”

Finally, the leading Greek-American surgeon shared some personal information about Pele: “His real name was ‘Enchon Arantes do Nascimento’. Once he asked me ‘what do you think of Pele.’ And I said ‘look, Pele is a creation of Enchon Arantes, and what I admire about the successes and the man is [that he is] Enchon Arantes.” He really liked my answer.

Sotiropoulos noted, “after the operation I had done on him, whenever he came to New York, we saw each other, but in the last few years he had been living in Brazil and it was not easy to get out.”

Sotiropoulos closed the conversation as he began about Pele: “He was a human being. He was not affected by his success in football. His personality had remained simple and pure. He was a very humble man.”


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