Diego Maradona’s surgery on a blood clot on his brain has been declared a ‘success’ despite worrying issues caused by his long history with drugs and alcohol, it has been announced.
The footballing legend, widely regarded as one of the best to ever play the game, had a subdural hematoma – an accumulation of blood between a membrane and his brain – according to his personal doctor Leopoldo Luque.
His PR team have now confirmed that the major surgery he had on Tuesday, less than a week after his 60th birthday, went well and he is now on the road to recovery.
Two of Maradona’s five children were quick to take to social media to reassure their father’s fans, with Jana writing: ‘Now life is feeling a little lighter.’
A few minutes later, Dalma posted: ‘I just got out of the clinic I just want to thank everyone for the constant displays of love for my dad, my sister and me. Thanks to everyone who prayed for him!’
Mr Luque, a neurologist, said the problem likely was caused by an accident, but Maradona has said he does not recall such an incident.
The Argentine great will rest in his room in a private clinic outside Buenos Aires for at least 48 hours, where his fans have gathered in large numbers outside to show their support.
Maradona was accompanied to the clinic by his daughters Dalma, Giannina and Jana and other relatives, according to local media in Argentina.
Diego Maradona has undergone successful surgery in Argentina for a blood clot on his brain
Maradona was originally in La Plata (pictured) before being transferred to Buenos Aires
His ‘Hand of God’ goal against England is one of the sport’s most controversial moments ever
Tuesday’s surgery came after the 1986 World Cup winner was admitted to another clinic, in the city of La Plata, after suffering anemia and dehydration.
Donato Villani, the head of the Argentina national team’s medical staff, told television channel TyC Sports that such a surgery normally goes smoothly, adding ‘it is different with Diego’ due to Maradona’s past treatment for cardiac problems and his use of drugs and alcohol.
Indeed, one of his former girlfriends has claimed that Maradona needs ‘urgent’ help for his alcohol addiction, insisting that is the reason for his current health issues.
Rocio Oliva, who spent six years with him and came close to marrying him until their split in 2018, told Super Mitre Deportivo: ‘On September 9 he was admitted for the same reason but this time round he was in a worse condition than before.
‘What’s happening here is simple. You can keep him in hospital three or four days and get him better by hydrating him and giving him vitamins but that’s not the solution.
Maradona’s personal doctor Leopoldo Luque (pictured) has been updating the media on him
Maradona (pictured in January) has a long history with drugs and alcohol, which Donato Villani claimed made the surgery on his blood clot more complicated
Fans have been praying for the Argentine football legend’s swift recovery following surgery
‘Diego takes sleeping pills, but Diego’s problem is alcohol and it’s well known. Diego is still drinking and whoever says he isn’t is a liar. He needs to be treated for his alcohol addiction.
‘A year ago Diego was a different man. The man we see now can’t speak. He’s got a lot worse.’
Maradona was admitted to the Ipensa Clinic with additional signs of depression on Monday, it was revealed.
Mr Luque said Maradona, whose Hand of God goal in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England is among the most controversial in the tournament’s history, had ‘felt sad’ for about a week and refused to eat before arriving at the clinic.
Maradona has lived in La Plata since the end of 2019, when he became coach of Gimnasia y Esgrima.
Maradona’s ex-girlfriend Rocio Oliva has claimed he needs urgent help for alcohol addiction
Oliva said of her ex: ‘A year ago Diego was a different man. The man we see now can’t speak’
Dalma (left) and Jana (right), two of Maradona’s daughters, have both taken to Twitter
MARADONA’S LONG HISTORY OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE
Maradona began taking cocaine in the mid-1980s – during the height of his playing days, going on to develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol over the next two decades.
His drug use began in 1982 and reportedly grew worse in 1984 when he moved to Napoli and had connections with the Comorra.
In 2014, Maradona said of his drug use: ‘I gave my opponents a big advantage. Do you know the player I could have been if I hadn’t taken drugs?’
His first real punishment came in 1991 when he was banned for 15 months by Napoli after testing positive for cocaine. Later in the same year he was arrested in Buenos Aires for possessing half a kilo of cocaine, and was given a 14-month suspended sentence.
In 1994, Maradona was back in the fold with the Argentina national team, making headlines around the world for a now-famous screaming celebration into the camera lens after a goal against Greece. His tournament was to come to an early end, though, after he was expelled days later for testing positive for five variants of ephedrine, a banned substance. He was banned for 15 months, ending his international career.
In 1995, he moved to Boca Juniors but two years later he failed a drugs test for the third time in six years, putting an end to his playing career. Officially, a ‘prohibited substance’ is all that has been revealed about that test, but Boca president Mauricio Macri has said in interviews that cocaine was found in a urine sample.
In 1996, Maradona said publicly: ‘I was, am and always will be a drug addict.’
In 2000, the footballing legend suffered an overdose, and in 2004 he had a heart attack. A year later, he was forced to have gastric bypass surgery, and in 2007 he was back in hospital again, this time suffering hepatitis.
It is then understood he stopped taking drugs, telling a journalist in 2017 that he hadn’t taken drugs for 13 years and was feeling ‘great’.
He has been drinking alcohol since 2004, though, hitting the headlines at the 2018 World Cup for his bizarre antics at a number of Argentina games. A video emerged of him drinking tequila on a plane, and he claimed he ‘drank all the wine’ ahead of their win over Nigeria.
Maradona turned 60 last Friday and showed up that night for Gimnasia’s national championship match against Patronato, which his team won 3-0. He left before the end of the first half, which raised questions about his health.
Before undergoing surgery on Tuesday, the former Barcelona, Napoli and Boca Juniors star reported feeling better.
‘Diego feels much better than yesterday and feels like leaving,’ Mr Luque said on Tuesday morning. ‘He spent the night well and we have been joking.’
Maradona led Argentina to the World Cup trophy in 1986. He has continued to cause controversy since his heyday as a player, being sent home from the 1994 World Cup in the United States and dropping in and out of the sport as a coach.
Maradona had reportedly been suffering from additional signs of depression earlier this week
Maradona arrives at the hospital in Buenos Aires, where he then underwent major surgery