Pele: Soccer legend pulls out of Rio 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony

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Pele will not take part in Friday's Olympic Opening Ceremony

The soccer legend cited physical limitations as the reason

The Games begin with the ceremony at Rio's Maracana Stadium

CNN  — 

Brazilian soccer great Pele has pulled out of the Olympic Opening Ceremony due to health concerns, it was announced Friday.

Widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, it was anticipated that the three-time World Cup winner would light the Olympic Cauldron to signal the start of the 2016 Games.

But in a note released to local Brazilian media, Pele says he is not able to carry out the honor due to physical limitations.

“Dear friends, only God is more important than my health!” said the statement.

“In my life I have had fractures, surgeries, pain, hospital stays, victories and defeats, and respecting those who admire me.

“I’ve always tried not to disappoint my family and the Brazilian people. At this point, I’m not physically able to attend the opening of the Olympics.

“And as a Brazilian, I ask God to bless you all.”