Pele says Zika, politics making Brazilians ‘sad’


London (AFP) – A combination of the Zika virus and political turmoil is making Brazilians “sad”, football legend Pele told AFP on Wednesday.

The football superstar, 75, was speaking at a preview in London of a huge auction of memorabilia spanning his career.

His comments came two months before the start of the Rio Olympics on August 5, the first to be held in South America.

“What is happening is very sad for us,” Pele said.

“In Brazil, we have the problem of Zika and at the same time we have a political problem.

“And that, for a country that lives sport, a country that practices sport, it’s very sad.

“I hope that we’ll have the chance of fixing the problem, because it’s really making all the Brazilians sad.”

Brazil currently has an interim president, Michel Temer, who took over from president Dilma Rousseff following her suspension for an impeachment trial last month.

The country is also facing fears over the spread of the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects in babies.

Some 150 international doctors, scientists and researchers signed an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) last week calling for the Olympics to be moved or delayed.

Pele spoke in London as he presented over 2,000 items from his career ahead of an auction next week which has been billed as one of the biggest in the history of sport.

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