Brazilian football icon Socrates was in "critical condition" in an intensive care unit early Saturday after suffering an intestinal infection, his doctors said.
Albert Einstein Hospital announced in a statement here that Socrates, 57, "was in critical condition due to a septic shock of intestinal origin."
The statement added that Socrates - captain of the thrilling 1982 World Cup finals team which is widely believed to be the best Brazilian side not to lift the trophy - was breathing with a ventilator and using a dialysis machine.
He was taken to hospital late Friday after suffering food poisoning, his wife said.
Socrates was hospitalized twice in August and September this year with bleeding in his digestive tract.
He recognised after these incidents he had problems with alcohol, especially in the era when he was playing.
In a recent television interview, Socrates admitted that he had considered alcohol his "companion," and its regular use was not affecting his performance on the soccer field.
"Alcohol did not affect my career, in part because I never had the physical build to play this game," he recalled.
"Soccer became my profession only when I was already 24," he continued. "I was too thin, and when I was young, I did not have the opportunity to prepare myself physically for the sport."
Socrates, who also played in the 1986 World Cup finals but was not fully fit, played his club football for Brazilian club Corinthians (1978-1984) and Italian side Fiorentina (1984-1985).
He was one of the founders of a movement known as "Corinthian Democracy," which formed in the 1980s.
Under its principles, all decisions made by football clubs, including the contracting of new players and training schedules, had to be approved by a vote of all members.