Former Brazil captain Socrates is in intensive care and on a ventilator after being hospitalized with internal bleeding from the stomach, doctors said Tuesday.
The 57-year-old Socrates was released from hospital 10 days ago after being treated for more than a week for the same problem.
Doctors at the Albert Einstein hospital said in a statement they controlled the bleeding with medication and other procedures.
The hospital said the hemorrhage was caused by high blood pressure in the vein that carries blood from the digestive system to the liver.
After leaving hospital last month, Socrates admitted he was a heavy drinker but pledged to stop drinking completely. He used to drink even when he played, but recently told local media that he hadn't been drinking for about three months. Socrates also is a smoker and said he would only stop if doctors asked him to.
Socrates was a doctor himself and practised medicine for years.
He currently is a popular TV commentator and columnist.
He wrote a series of columns for The Associated Press during the 2011 Copa America in Argentina, expressing his views on all aspects of the tournament, including economic and political issues in Latin America.
An elegant playmaker known for his great vision on the field, Socrates was capped 63 times with Brazil, scoring 25 goals. He captained the squad in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups.
The 1982 Brazilian team became widely known as the best ever not to win a World Cup. With players like Zico and Falcao, it fell to Italy 3-2 in the second round despite needing a draw to advance to the semifinals.
Socrates was included in FIFA's list of the best 125 living footballers in the world, a list compiled by countryman Pele.
He starred for Brazilian club Corinthians in the early 1980s, but he also played for Flamengo, Santos and Italy's Fiorentina.
Socrates briefly coached and played for Garforth Town in England in 2004.