Diego Maradona to have brain surgery in Argentina, soccer great's doctor says

Doug McIntyre
·2-min read

World Cup legend Diego Maradona will undergo surgery to repair a subdural hematoma, or bleeding between the brain and the skull, his doctor told reporters Tuesday in the soccer great’s native Argentina.

Widely regarded as one of the best players of all time, the 1986 World Cup winner, who celebrated his 60th birthday last week, was admitted to a hospital Monday night in the city of La Plata, where he serves as the manager of Argentina Primera División club Gimnasia de La Plata.

The initial reports said that Maradona underwent tests, but didn’t reveal his condition nor the reason he needed to seek urgent medical attention. One local outlet, La Nacion, reported that while it “is not an emergency situation,” Maradona and his doctor, neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque agreed that he required inpatient care. It also suggested that Maradona, who has suffered from health problems in the past, would be moved to a longterm care facility in the nearby capital of Buenos Aires.

Diego Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup and is considered one of the greatest soccer players ever. (Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)
Diego Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup and is considered one of the greatest soccer players ever. (Gustavo Garello/Getty Images)

Maradona was not infected with or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, that report added. The diminutive former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star has long suffered from drug and alcohol dependency and obesity. Last year, after he underwent emergency surgery to repair a hernia that caused internal bleeding in his stomach, his daughter Giannina said her father was “dying from the inside and does not realize it.”

After Monday’s news broke, Telemundo’s Andres Cantor tweeted that Maradona had not suffered from a stroke, as some had speculated, but that his issue was “due to his alcohol problems.”

Luque provided an update on Tuesday.

"He's lucid. He understands,” Luque, referring to Maradona, told the throng of journalists and camera crews that have gathered outside the hospital. “It's a routine surgery."

A nearly unstoppable force as an attacking midfielder, Maradona utterly dominated the 1986 World Cup, leading the Albiceleste to their second title. He also appeared in the 1982, 1990 and 1994 tournaments, although he was suspended during USA ‘94 after failing a drug test.

Before taking over Gimnasia, Maradona coached fellow Primera División outfit Racing, Mexican side Dorados de Sinaloa, a pair of clubs in the United Arab Emirates and the Argentinian national team, which he took to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

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