Dozens of Argentine fans gather like pilgrims at the gates of a Buenos Aires’ clinic, where the soccer national hero, Diego Maradona, remains sedated for treatment of alcoholism and excessive eating and smoking. According to doctors, the captain of the 1986 World Cup champion team is in good health condition and his life is not under danger.
Maradona’s personal doctor Alfredo Cahe confirmed that Maradona was under treatment. "They are undertaking treatment specifically for addiction," he added. "At this moment, they are treating him for a problem of addiction to alcohol."
Cahe said Maradona‘s health problems did not involve cocaine or other dangerous drugs but added Maradona had been in low spirits because of family and other problems. He said Maradona would remain hospitalized at least a week.
As soon as the news about Maradona’s new admission in hospital became known, his fans began arriving to the clinic, in the center of Buenos Aires. Most of them were carrying pictures of their idol, praying and lighting candles on for a prompt recovery.
As in 2000 in neighbor Uruguay and again in 2004 in Buenos Aires, Maradona’s health condition alarmed Argentineans, who consider him the best soccer player in world’s history.
Off the field, Maradona has battled cocaine addiction and obesity. In 2005, he underwent a gastric bypass surgery in Colombia and soon after sported a thinner look.
Maradona was counseled for drug abuse in Argentina in 2004 and in September of that year traveled to Cuba for treatment at Havana‘s Center for Mental Health.
After the gastric surgery, Maradona got fit again and hosted a popular TV show for half a year. Since the TV show concluded, witnesses began reporting about his presence in night clubs and bars of Buenos Aires.
Maradona then lost his shape. “Maradona is god. I pray for him everyday”, said Mirta Martinez, a 62 year-old fan of the soccer astro. “I noticed he was losing shape, but the news about a new hospitalization caught me by surprise”, says Victor, an attorney who was too young in 1986 to remember when he dodged five English players to score an unforgettable goal that led Argentina to its second world cup a week later in Mexico.
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