Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona is to remain in hospital for several more days to undergo treatment following surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain, his doctor said Thursday. “We saw that in the postoperative phase Diego had episodes of confusion,” Leopoldo Luque told reporters. Therapists treating Maradona had linked the behaviour to withdrawal symptoms and the necessary treatment would last “a few days,” he said. Luque did not provide details, but Maradona has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction.
Although he has publicly said he no longer uses cocaine, friends and media reports have suggested he remains addicted to alcohol.
At a press conference outside the private clinic in Buenos Aires where surgeons spent 80 minutes removing the clot on Tuesday night, Luque took pains to present an upbeat assessment of the 60-year-old’s overall condition.
“Diego is doing well. The CT scan came out well. We were even dancing. Yes, we danced!” the doctor said.
The doctor said Maradona “agrees” with the diagnosis and would remain in the clinic.
Earlier Thursday, he said doctors were happy with the former player’s condition: “He can walk, talk to me….It’s very early this, but the recovery is excellent.”
World Cup winner Maradona had been taken to hospital in La Plata — where he is the coach of top-flight side Gimnasia y Esgrima — on Monday for a series of tests after feeling unwell.
A scan revealed the blood clot, and on Tuesday he was transferred to the clinic in a northern neighborhood of the capital.
Fans have flocked to the clinic to leave banners showing the star in his prime and messages of support for the ailing icon.
Alongside Brazil’s Pele, who turned 80 last month, Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
Maradona, who turned 60 on Friday, has suffered ill health before. He has survived two heart attacks, and also contracted hepatitis and underwent gastric bypass surgery.
Prior to falling ill, Maradona had been depressed, his lawyer Matias Morla said on Wednesday.
The famously fast-living icon had only been able to spend half an hour at his own birthday celebration at his team’s training ground on Friday, when he had difficulty walking.
“He was behaving strangely. He was very depressed and spoke about dead relatives that he missed,” said Morla.
He said Maradona was “very worried” about the surgery and praised Luque, adding that “if he hadn’t detected the clot, Maradona’s fate would have been different.”
Luque insisted on Tuesday that the procedure was “a routine operation.”
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