Rio Olympics 2016: Brazil Football Legend Pele Will Not Light Olympic Flame

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The 75-year-old  Pele was rumoured to be favourite to perform the duty which has previously been carried out by other sporting greats such as Muhammad Ali and Cathy Freeman.

The three-time World Cup winner has been suffering from muscle pains and had hip surgery earlier this year.

“I’m not in physical condition to take part in the opening ceremony,” he said.

“Only God is more important than my health. In my life, I’ve had fractures, surgeries, pain, hospital stays, victories and defeats. And I’ve always respected those who admire me.”

The former Santos player added that it was his “own decision”.

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