SAO PAULO: The son of the football legend Pele has been sentenced to 33 years in jail for laundering money raised from drug trafficking.

Edinho is a retired footballer who played goalkeeper for Pele’s old club, Santos, in the 1990s.

He was first arrested in 2005 and has served a sentence for drug trafficking offences and links with a notorious drug dealer in the city of Santos. He says he is a drug addict but denies the trafficking charges.

The ruling was issued by a judge in the nearby coastal city of Praia Grande, in Sao Paulo state.

Edinho, real name is Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, is expected to appeal. Currently the 43-year-old works as a goalkeeping coach at Santos.

Edinho is Pele’s third son from his first marriage. He was five when the family moved to New York when Pele signed to play for Cosmos in the original North American Soccer League.

When Edinho returned to Brazil he decided to pursue a career in professional football and was Santos’ goalkeeper in 1995 when they reached the Brazilian league final, losing the title to Botafogo.

Four other people have also been convicted for many laundering, including Ronaldo Duarte Barsotti – known as Naldinho – who is accused of controlling much of the drug trafficking in the region.