Manchester - Brazil striker Robinho threatened Pele with legal action on Tuesday over the former great's apparent suggestion that he had a drug problem.
The Manchester City forward is angry at Pele's reported comments last week that Robinho and Ronaldo had both had a drug problem. Robinho's representatives want Pele to explain the comments attributed to him and apologise if they were accurately reported.
"A formal retraction from Pele will be requested, if what he said was not misinterpreted by the media that published it," a statement on Robinho's personal Web site said. "And if Pele does not come forward, he will have to deal with his very unfortunate comment in court."
The 25-year-old Robinho has impressed sporadically since joining Manchester City from Real Madrid this season.
His attitude has been questioned by teammates including Craig Bellamy and manager Mark Hughes fined him for flying to Brazil without permission for a party, but there had been no suggestion that he was involved in any illegal activity.
Pele's reported comments to a Brazilian radio station appeared to suggest that any transgression was in the past.
"It's unfair to talk of drugs in football just because of one or two cases, as happened with Ronaldo and Robinho, who had that problem," Pele was quoted as saying.
Pele helped Brazil win three World Cups before retiring in 1977 and is widely regarded as football's greatest ever player. Since retiring, he has been a spokesman for a credit card company and advertised Viagra, the anti-impotence drug.
"Robinho is upset and disappointed at Pele, who seems to have forgotten the great idol he was," the statement on Robinho's site said. "It appears Pele must be reading sensationalist (media) to come up with such a wrongful statement."