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Sports News

Maradona taken to hospital - reports

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Diego Maradona has been admitted to hospital in Argentina with undisclosed “health problems” although it is not related to COVID-19 and his condition is not thought to be serious, his personal doctor and local media reported on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Superliga - Boca Juniors v Gimnasia y Esgrima - Alberto J. Armando Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina - March 7, 2020 Gimnasia y Esgrima coach Diego Maradona before the match REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

Maradona, 60, was taken to the Ipensa clinic in La Plata, about an hour from Buenos Aires. Maradona coaches the local club Gimnasia y Esgrima.

Maradona, who won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986 and is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, was admitted to hospital to undergo tests, his doctor Leopoldo Luque said.

He had been feeling poorly for some time and will be held under observation for “at least three days”, Luque told reporters.

“He is not well psychologically and that has an impact on his physical wellbeing,” Luque said. “He’s not as well as I would like and as well as I know he can be. He needs help, this is the time to help him.”

“Diego is a person who is sometimes excellent and sometimes not so much,” Luque added. “He could be 10 thousand times better. And bringing him here helps him.”

“It’s very difficult being Maradona.”

Luque did not give specific details of Maradona’s ailment but said it was not related to COVID-19.

Maradona last appeared in public on his 60th birthday last Friday before his side’s league match against Patronato.

He was gifted a plaque and a cake to celebrate the occasion but he did not stay to watch the game and witnesses said he looked unwell and weak.

The former Napoli, Barcelona and Boca Juniors player has suffered frequent periods in hospital over the years, often due to the extravagant lifestyle that accompanied and followed his playing career.

The former Napoli striker was admitted to hospital in January 2019 with internal bleeding in the stomach.

He also fell ill at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he was filmed passing out in an executive box at the Argentina-Nigeria game.

Maradona was taken into hospital in 2004 with severe heart and respiratory problems linked to cocaine use. He later underwent drug rehabilitation in Cuba and Argentina before a stomach-stapling operation in 2005 helped him lose weight.

In 2007 he checked himself into a clinic in Buenos Aires to help him overcome alcohol abuse problems.

Reporting by Ramiro Scandolo, writing by Andrew Downie and Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar, Richard Pullin and Himani Sarkar

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