Maradona’s Doctor Investigated For Involuntary Manslaughter

In this file photo taken on November 02, 2019, Gimnasia y Esgrima team coach Diego Armando Maradona gestures to supporters as he leaves the field after an Argentina First Division Superliga football match against Estudiantes, at El Bosque stadium, in La Plata, Buenos Aires province, Argentina. ALEJANDRO PAGNI / AFP

 

Diego Maradona’s personal doctor was on Sunday being investigated for involuntary manslaughter four days after the Argentina legend suffered a fatal heart attack, prosecutors in San Isidro near Buenos Aires reported.

Police raided Leopoldo Luque’s surgery and home in search of possible evidence pointing to negligence, according to television images.

The probe was triggered by concerns raised by three of Maradona’s daughters Dalma, Gianinna and Jana over the treatment he received for his heart condition at his home in Tigre, north of Buenos Aires, judicial sources said.

“Our investigations are ongoing, we are talking to witnesses including members of the family” of Maradona, a source close to the San Isidro inquiry said.

READ ALSO: Maradona’s Burial, FIFA Awards Nominees + Other Top Sports Stories Last Week 

Luque, who declined to comment when contacted by AFP, had posted a photograph of himself with Maradona on the day the 60-year-old left hospital on November 12, eight days after surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain.

Maradona returned home to Tigre where he received round-the-clock medical care and could remain close to his daughters.

He died of a heart attack on Wednesday and was buried on Thursday at the Jardin de Paz cemetery on the outskirts of the Argentine capital.

“The clinic had recommended that he go elsewhere to be hospitalised, but the family decided otherwise. His daughters signed for him to be discharged from the hospital,” said a family member, on the condition of anonymity.

Maradona’s lawyer, Matias Morla, had called for an investigation into claims that ambulances took more than half an hour to reach the football star’s house in response to an emergency call on the day of his death.

 

File photo of Argentine legend, Maradona. Credit: AFP

 

No complaint has yet been filed. “The case was initiated because he is a person who died at home and no one signed his death certificate. It does not mean there are suspicions or irregularities,” a judicial source said, requesting to remain anonymous.

A preliminary autopsy report established that Maradona died in his sleep at noon on Wednesday of “acute lung edema and chronic heart failure.”

The prosecutor’s office is awaiting the results of toxicological tests on Maradona’s body. The three prosecutors working on the case have requested his medical records, as well as recordings from neighborhood security cameras.

Three funeral home workers provoked outrage for posing for photos next to Maradona’s open coffin, smiling with their thumbs up, as it lay at the presidential palace ahead of his burial. One of the men has since apologised.

Maradona’s last public appearance came four weeks ago for his 60th birthday celebration at the stadium of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, the club he was coaching before his death.

AFP

Tears, Memories As Argentina’s Primera Division Returns Without Maradona

Walter Montoya of Racing Club (2nd R) cries as he wears a special jersey with the colors of Argentina and a logo of Maradona to pay homage to the late Argentine football legend before a Copa Diego Maradona 2020 football match between Racing Club and Union at the Presidente Peron Stadium in Avellaneda, Buenos Aires province, Argentina, on November 28, 2020. (Photo by Rodrigo Valle / POOL / AFP)

 

The first games in Argentina’s Primera Division since the death of Diego Maradona kicked off Saturday amid tears and memories, with the club he last coached notching up a victory in tribute to the footballing genius.

Players from Racing and Union de Santa Fe entered the pitch at Avellaneda wearing national jerseys with Maradona’s number 10 on the back.

They warmed up to the sound of “Life is Life” — a song made wildly popular by an accompanying video of the Argentine great performing feats of magic with the ball.

Standing around the centre circle, they marked the legend’s passing with a minute’s applause.

A kite in the Argentine colours was released, in reference to the “Cosmic Kite” moniker given to the diminutive playmaker by commentator Victor Morales after his “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 World Cup.

“He is a great one, it goes without saying,” said Racing midfielder Walter Montoya, unable to hold back tears during the tribute.

“There is no need to say anything else, all words are futile.”

Maradona’s last public appearance came four weeks ago for his 60th birthday celebration at the stadium of Gimnasia y Esgrima, the club he was coaching before he underwent an operation to remove a clot on his brain.

He died in his sleep on Wednesday aged just 60, plunging his South American homeland and football globally into mourning.

Gimnasia paid their own tribute to the star with a 1-0 victory over Velez in Buenos Aires in a later Saturday fixture.

Several Gimnasia players coached by the legend were also on the verge of tears before kickoff.

“It was crazy to play, because we are still reeling from this blow,” midfielder Victor Ayala said after the match.

“But we did what Diego taught us… For us, he was like a father, calling us whenever we needed something… From up there, he must be proud of this team.”

AFP

Argentine Prosecutors Probe Maradona’s Death

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 09, 2001 Argentinian football star Diego Maradona greets the public in the “La Bombonera” stadium of Boca Juniors Athletic club in Buenos Aires. AFP

 

Argentine prosecutors were investigating Friday the circumstances surrounding the death of Diego Maradona and whether it could have involved medical negligence, judicial sources said.

“There are already irregularities,” a close family member told AFP.

Maradona’s lawyer, Matias Morla, had earlier called for an investigation into claims that ambulances took more than half an hour to reach the football star’s house in response to an emergency call on the day of his death.

A preliminary autopsy report established that Maradona died in his sleep at noon on Wednesday of “acute lung edema and chronic heart failure.”

The prosecutor’s office in Buenos Aires has opened a file entitled “Maradona, Diego. Determination of the cause of death.”

“The case was initiated because he is a person who died at home and no one signed his death certificate. It does not mean there are suspicions or irregularities,” a judicial source said, requesting to remain anonymous.

The 60-year-old Argentine football legend was receiving round-the-clock medical care at a house in a gated community in Tigre, north of Buenos Aires, where he was recuperating from surgery to remove a clot on his brain in early November.

“You have to see if they did what they were supposed to do or if they relaxed,” the family member told AFP.

“The nurse made a statement when the prosecutor appeared on the day of Diego’s death, then expanded her statement and finally went on television to say that what she said was forced on her, so there is some contradiction in her statement,” the close relative said.

The prosecutor’s office is awaiting the results of toxicological tests on Maradona’s body.

The three prosecutors working on the case have requested the star’s medical records, as well as recordings from neighborhood security cameras.

Another nurse caring for Maradona was likely the last person to see the star alive, at dawn on Wednesday, prosecutors said in a statement on Friday.

“From his words, it could be established that he was the last person to see (Maradona) alive at approximately 6:30 in the morning,” as the night shift at the star’s house was ending, it said.

The nurse, interviewed by prosecutors on Thursday, “referred to having found him resting in his bed, assuring that he was sleeping and breathing normally.”

Maradona’s nephew Johnny Herrera was previously believed to have been the last person to see Maradona, at 11:30 pm on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said the nurse present in his house at the time of death told them that she had heard Maradona “moving around inside the room” at 7:30 am.

They said that at 12:17 pm, “Maradona’s personal secretary requested medical assistance, and an ambulance from the company +VIDA was present at 12:28 pm, according to film records from the San Andres neighborhood obtained by the prosecutor’s office.”

Several ambulances from other medical service providers arrived later.

Investigators have also established that Maradona’s personal doctor, Leopoldo Luque, had already made a 911 call at 12:16 pm, requesting an ambulance.

AFP

Police, Fans Clash At Diego Maradona’s Wake

Fans affected by tear gas thrown by riot police during clashes, walk near the Casa Rosada government house where people is paying tribute to Argentinian late football legend Diego Armando Maradona in Buenos Aires, on November 26, 2020. JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

 

Riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas in clashes Thursday with football fans near the wake for Argentine football legend Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires.

Officials earlier ordered Maradona’s coffin to be moved to another room inside the presidential palace after fans took over an inner courtyard and disrupted his lying in state.

The government had early announced a three-hour extension to the wake to allow time for thousands of fans to pay their respects.

READ ALSO: Referee Who Missed ‘Hand of god’ Hails ‘Genius’ Maradona

Tens of thousands of people had queued from early morning to file past the star’s coffin, draped in the Argentine flag and the player’s No.10 jersey, at the presidential palace.

Many of the mourners were in tears, and some wore replicas of the World Cup winner’s jersey as they gathered at the Casa Rosada palace to see his coffin.

But as the day wore on, fans queueing outside the palace grew increasingly impatient and some took over a courtyard inside the palace, where they chanted slogans.

Officials moved Maradona’s coffin to another room as a security precaution, a government source told AFP.

Photo released by Telam of fans of Argentinian late football legend Diego Armando Maradona confronting riot police outside the Casa Rosada presidential palace as Maradona’s wake takes place inside, in Buenos Aires, on November 26, 2020. Ramiro GOMEZ / TELAM / AFP

 

At the same time, riot police clashed with stone-throwing fans on streets around the palace, and several people were arrested.

Maradona died of a heart attack on Wednesday while recovering from surgery earlier this month to remove a blood clot on his brain.

He was to be buried later Thursday at the Jardin de Paz cemetery on the outskirts of the Argentine capital, where his parents were also laid to rest, his spokesman Sebastian Sanchi told AFP.

AFP

 

Referee Who Missed ‘Hand of god’ Hails ‘Genius’ Maradona

In this file photo taken on February 26, 2013, Football legend Argentinian Diego Maradona gestures during a press conference in Naples. CARLO HERMANN / AFP

 

Tunisian former referee Ali Bin Nasser, who officiated the 1986 World Cup quarter-final in which Diego Maradona scored his famous double against England, hailed the Argentinian as a “genius” following his death, aged 60, on Wednesday.

Bin Nasser admitted that he doubted the validity of Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal, but said the football legend’s second strike in the game was a “masterpiece”.

In the 51st minute of a politically-charged last-eight clash in Mexico, four years after the Falklands War, Maradona outjumped England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and punched the ball into the net to give his country the lead.

“I didn’t see the hand, but I had a doubt,” Bin Nasser, the first Tunisian to referee a World Cup quarter-final, told AFP.

“You can see the pictures — I stepped back to take the advice of my assistant, Bulgarian (Bogdan) Dochev, and when he said it was good, I gave the goal.”

The 76-year-old said he believed he was a go-to man for FIFA in tough matches, and that world football’s governing body gave him a high rating for his performance in the game.

“I had already refereed a match between the USSR and China in 1985, I was the man of difficult missions for FIFA,” Bin Nasser said.

“FIFA gave me a 9.4 on this game, I did what I had to do, but there was confusion — Dochev later indicated that he had seen two arms, and he didn’t know if it was Shilton’s or Maradona’s.”

Argentina secured their place in the semi-finals of a tournament they would go on to win when Maradona put them two goals ahead with a strike later voted the ‘Goal of the Century’.

The then-Napoli star evaded six England players’ attempts to either tackle or foul him during a mesmerising run from the halfway line, before prodding into an empty net.

READ ALSO: Argentines Mourn Maradona, ‘The Most Human Of gods’

“I was ready to whistle for a dangerous foul on Maradona,” remembered Bin Nasser of a goal which proved to be the winner after Gary Lineker pulled one back for England.

“I thought after 50 yards of effort they were going to bring him down.

“I was proud to participate in that masterpiece.”

Maradona visited Bin Nasser 29 years later while shooting an advertisement in Tunisia, giving him a T-shirt bearing the words “To my eternal friend Ali”.

“We had a good time, I told him that that day, it was not Argentina who won, but him, Maradona.

“He was a genius, a football legend. As a referee, I did not allow myself to close my eyes even for a second when following him, because he was capable of anything.”

AFP

Maradona Death Kept From Ailing Former Coach Bilardo

In this file photo taken on February 26, 2013, Football legend Argentinian Diego Maradona gestures during a press conference in Naples. CARLO HERMANN / AFP

 

Carlos Bilardo, the coach of Argentina’s 1986 World Cup-winning team who is in poor health, was still unaware on Thursday of the death of Diego Maradona on Thursday, because of his family’s wish not to upset him.

Maradona, who captained the 1986 team, died on Wednesday from a heart attack at the age of 60.

“I cannot tell him that Diego is dead,” Carlos’s brother Jorge Bilardo told Radio Provincia, because he had a “father-son” relationship with Maradona.

Carlos Bilardo had repeatedly said during interviews that Diego was “the son that (he had) not had”.

The former coach, 82, is suffering from neurological disorders.

READ ALSO: Argentines Mourn Maradona, ‘The Most Human Of gods’

He lives in an apartment in Buenos Aires where he is treated by nurses who are prohibited from letting him watch television.

“The nurse already knew that if this happened, the television had to be turned off,” said Jorge Bilardo.

“She did so by telling him that the cable had been cut.”

Carlos Bilardo took Argentina to three World Cups, from 1982 to 1990. They won the title in 1986 and, with Maradona still very much the playmaker, reached the final four years later when they lost to West Germany.

AFP

Argentina And The World Of Football Mourn Maradona

Fans hold photos of Argentinian late football legend Diego Armando Maradona outside the Casa Rosada government house as they wait to pay their tribute to his coffin in Buenos Aires, on November 26, 2020. PHOTO: RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP

 

Thousands of Argentines filed past Diego Maradona’s coffin in Buenos Aires on Thursday after the country and the world of football was plunged into mourning by his death at the age of 60.

Mourners, many in tears, and many wearing the World Cup winner’s number 10 Argentina jersey, gathered at the Casa Rosada presidential palace where the national hero’s coffin was draped in the sky blue and white Argentine flag.

Many more will pay homage to one of the all-time sporting greats before his burial on the outskirts of Buenos Aires later on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Diego Maradona’s Life In 10 Key Dates

Maradona will be laid to rest in the Jardin de Paz cemetery, where his parents were also buried, his spokesman Sebastian Sanchi told AFP.

Tributes poured in from around the world as supporters, players and government leaders marked the passing of a sporting genius whose career and life was sometimes tainted by a loose interpretation of the rules of the game and a crippling addiction to cocaine.

The outrageously skilful Maradona, widely remembered for his “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals, died Wednesday of a heart attack while recovering from brain surgery, a member of his entourage told AFP.

Family members were summoned to Maradona’s home north of the Argentine capital before his death was announced.

Lionel Messi, Argentina’s modern-day superstar, led the tributes as he said: “He has left us but he will never leave us because Diego is eternal.”

READ ALSO: Maradona To Be Buried Today Outside Buenos Aires – Spokesman

Brazilian legend Pele, 80, constantly compared with Maradona in the debate over football’s greatest player, said he hoped they would one day “play together in the sky”.

Despite a wave of coronavirus cases in Argentina, fans gathered at landmarks including Buenos Aires’ Obelisk monument and Argentinos Juniors’ Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, where he started his career.

 

– ‘Hand of God’ –

Maradona, born in Lanus, just south of Buenos Aires, on October 30, 1960, also played for Boca Juniors and Barcelona before becoming a hero in the working-class southern Italian city of Naples in a career marked by wild highs and lows.

In his most infamous match, he leapt and used his fist to score past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals in Mexico City, memorably describing the goal as “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”.

Minutes later he weaved through six English defenders from the halfway line to score an unforgettable solo second which was later honoured as FIFA’s “Goal of the century”.

The two contrasting goals perfectly encapsulated the mixture of brilliant skill and often outlandish behaviour that ran through Maradona’s life.

Maradona’s career was crowned by his performances at that World Cup, when he captained Argentina to glory.

After dismissing England he scored twice in the semi-final against Belgium and set up the 86th-minute winner in the final against West Germany.

It was to prove the highlight for Maradona, who inspired Argentina to the 1990 final only for West Germany to take their revenge. In 1994 he was in physical decline and, following an eye-bulging goal celebration direct to the TV cameras after scoring against Greece, failed a drugs test and was sent home in disgrace.

Gary Lineker, who was in the beaten England team in 1986, said Maradona was “arguably the greatest of all time”, adding in a reference to the controversial goal: “After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego.”

Excesses with drugs and alcohol had long taken their toll on Maradona’s health. He was admitted to hospital three times in the last 20 years for serious health issues due to his addictions.

 

– ‘Ciao Diego’ –

Maradona grew up in poverty, but his extraordinary talent was clear from a young age at Argentinos Juniors and Boca.

He moved to Barcelona but was singled out for rough treatment by opposing defenders and soon fell out of love with the Spanish club.

It was in Naples where Maradona would enchant an entire city by leading the then unfashionable Napoli to their only two Italian league titles in 1987 and 1990, befriending a mafia family along the way.

“Always in our hearts. Ciao Diego,” Napoli tweeted, while the club’s president and the city’s mayor called for the Stadio San Paolo to be renamed after Maradona.

In recent years, Maradona, reduced to hobbling by the ravages of his career and lifestyle, had coached in the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Argentina without ever hitting the heights of his playing days.

Maradona married his long-time girlfriend Claudia Villafane in 1984. They had two daughters, Dalma and Gianinna, but the relationship was punctuated by Maradona’s extra-marital affairs and they divorced in 2004.

He also had a son, Diego Junior, born in Naples in 1986, although he only acknowledged paternity in 2004.

In 2000, FIFA ran an online Player of the Century poll. Maradona gained 54 percent of the vote and Pele was second with 18 percent. FIFA declared them joint winners.

AFP

UPDATED: Football Legend Diego Maradona Is Dead

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 29, 1986, Argentina’s football star team captain Diego Maradona kisses the World Cup won by his team after a 3-2 victory over West Germany on at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City. AFP

 

Diego Maradona, one of the greatest footballers of all time, died Wednesday at the age of 60, plunging his sport and his native Argentina into mourning.

Renowned along with Pele as one of the greatest players ever to play the game, the Argentine World Cup-winning captain died of a heart attack, having undergone brain surgery earlier this month, a member of his entourage told AFP.

Maradona will forever be known for his “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final in Mexico when he appeared to use his hand to push the ball into the net before later swerving through the English defenders for a memorable second goal that sealed the victory.

Pele said Maradona had been a “dear friend” and said he hoped they would “play together in the sky” one day.


RELATED
Diego Maradona: Five Of His Greatest Goals
Maradona’s Legend Shaped By His ‘Hand Of God’

In this file photo taken on November 02, 2019, Gimnasia y Esgrima team coach Diego Armando Maradona gestures to supporters as he leaves the field after an Argentina First Division Superliga football match against Estudiantes, at El Bosque stadium, in La Plata, Buenos Aires province, Argentina.  ALEJANDRO PAGNI / AFP

 

Gary Lineker, who was in the England team defeated in 1986, tweeted that Maradona was “arguably the greatest of all time” but made a reference to that infamous goal by adding: “After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully, he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego”

Lionel Messi, the Argentine considered one of the world’s greatest modern-day players, said Maradona was “eternal”.

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez immediately announced three days of national mourning in the South American country.

Shortly before the announcement that shocked the world, Argentine media reported Maradona had suffered a serious health setback on Wednesday and was being treated at his home north of Buenos Aires.

“There are four ambulances at the door of the residence. They have summoned family members to come. It is serious,” the TyC Sports channel reported.


RELATED
Diego Maradona, A Divine Talent With Two Dreams
Death Of ‘Eternal’ Maradona Plunges Football World Into Mourning

In this file photo taken on June 09, 2016 former Argentinian football international Diego Maradona (L) and former Brazilian footballer Pele pose after a football match organised by Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot at the Jardin du Palais Royal in Paris, on the eve of the Euro 2016 European football championships. PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP

 

The life of the divine footballing talent that was Diego Armando Maradona was marked by wild highs and lows, with Argentina and with club sides Boca Juniors, Barcelona, and Napoli.

Excesses with cocaine and alcohol had long taken their toll on the mercurial talent’s health.

The former player underwent surgery earlier this month to remove a clot lodged between his brain and skull.

Maradona has been admitted to hospital three times in the last 20 years for serious health issues — two of which were potentially fatal — due to his drug and alcohol addictions.

– ‘Hand of God’ –

The highs were crowned by his performances when he captained Argentina to victory in Mexico in 1986.

In the final, Maradona set up the 86th-minute winner against West Germany. He scored twice in the semi-final against Belgium, beating four defenders for the second.

But the match that defined his tournament, and possibly his international career, was that win over England, in which he scored two goals that will be remembered forever — for very different reasons.


RELATED
Barcelona Salute Maradona, ‘Icon Of World Football’
‘Ciao Diego:’ Napoli Bid Farewell To Club Legend Maradona

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 29, 1986, Argentina’s team captain Diego Maradona evades a tackle from West Germany’s Lothar Matthaus during the World Soccer Cup final, won by Argentina’s team after a 3-2 victory over West Germany, at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City. STAFF / AFP

 

In the 51st minute, as England goalkeeper Peter Shilton reached to catch the ball, Maradona jumped alongside him and with a deftness that fooled the eye, flicked the ball with his hand through the England goalkeeper’s arms and into the net.

After the game, Maradona said he scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.”

The goal he scored four minutes later when he picked up the ball in his own half and glided past six England players, including Shilton, was named “Goal of the Century” by FIFA.

He played for Argentinos Juniors and Boca in Argentina before joining Barcelona in Spain, but it was in Naples where he would enchant an entire city by leading the then unfashionable club to its only two Italian league titles in 1987 and 1990.


RELATED
Champions League: A Minute Silence To Be Observed After Maradona’s Death
‘I Hope We’ll Play Soccer Together In The Sky’: Pele Mourns Maradona


“Always in our hearts. Ciao Diego,” Napoli tweeted after his death was announced.

European football’s governing body UEFA announced that Maradona would be honoured with a minute’s silence before Wednesday’s Champions League games.

In 2000, FIFA ran an online Player of the Century poll. Maradona gained 54 percent of the vote, Pele was second with 18 percent, but FIFA declared them joint winners.

Maradona married his long-time girlfriend Claudia Villafane in 1984. They had two daughters, Dalma and Gianinna, and divorced in 2004.

He also had a son, Diego Junior, born in Naples in 1986, although he only acknowledged paternity in 2004.

AFP

Maradona To Remain In Hospital For Treatment After Surgery – Doctor

Supporters of Argentine former football star and coach of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata Diego Maradona gather outside the hospital where he undergoes a brain surgery for a blood clot, in Olivos, Buenos Aires province, on November 3, 2020. JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

 

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.

In this file photo taken on November 02, 2019, Gimnasia y Esgrima team coach Diego Armando Maradona gestures to supporters as he leaves the field after an Argentina First Division Superliga football match against Estudiantes, at El Bosque stadium, in La Plata, Buenos Aires province, Argentina.  ALEJANDRO PAGNI / AFP

 

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.

– ‘Depressed’ –
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.”

Maradona To Undergo Brain Surgery

Maradona To Quit Job At Mexican Club Dorados Over 'Referee Bias'
File photo of Argentine legend Diego Maradona during a football match in Culiacan, Sinaloa State, Mexico, on April 5, 2019. RASHIDE FRIAS / AFP

 

Argentine football great Diego Maradona will undergo brain surgery for a blood clot in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, his personal doctor said.

“I will operate on him. It’s a routine operation, he’s lucid,” said Leopoldo Luque.

World Cup winner Maradona, 60, was taken to hospital on Monday for a series of tests after feeling unwell.

A scan revealed the blood clot, which Argentine media are speculating was the result of a blow to the head.

Earlier in the day, Luque claimed Maradona was feeling “much better and eager to leave” hospital but insisted that the Gimnasia Y Esgrima coach was suffering from anemia — a lack of iron in his system — and dehydration.

Luque said it has left him feeling “very weak, very tired.” After further tests, he was diagnosed with a blood clot.

He is due to be transferred from a hospital in La Plata, 60 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, to a specialist clinic in the capital.

Luque had earlier suggested Maradona’s lifestyle had contributed to his condition.

“He’s an elderly patient with many pressures in his life. It’s a time when we must help him. It’s very difficult to be Maradona,” Luque said of the star, who celebrated his 60th birthday on Friday.

The doctor ruled out any link to the coronavirus pandemic, which is ravaging the South American country, much of it still under confinement.

Maradona, who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse and poor health, is considered at high risk of coronavirus complications should he be infected.

Last week he began self-isolation for the second time after a bodyguard displayed coronavirus symptoms, though he later tested negative.

He joined his players briefly at the club’s training ground on his birthday but had obvious difficulty walking and had to be helped away by his assistants after staying only 30 minutes.

“It breaks my heart to see him like this,” one of his daughters, Giannina, tweeted the next day.

He has suffered two heart attacks in the past and contracted hepatitis.

He has difficulty retaining iron due to a gastric bypass surgery he underwent in 2005 to lose 50 kilograms, leaving him prone to anemia, Luque said.

Though he has recovered from a well-documented addiction to hard drugs, Maradona takes medication in the form of tranquilizers and anxiolytics.

“With a patient on medication, there are times when hospitalization serves to adjust that medication. That’s good,” said Luque.

Gimnasia fans flocked to the La Plata clinic to leave messages of support for the ailing icon.

“What he needs most is the support of the people,” Luque said.

Alongside Brazil’s Pele, who turned 80 last month, Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

AFP

Messi Fires Argentina To WC Qualifying Win Over Ecuador

Argentina’s Lionel Messi (L) eludes Ecuador’s Angel Mena during their 2022 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier football match at La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires on October 8, 2020, amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic. Marcelo Endelli / POOL / AFP

 

Lionel Messi put his Barcelona troubles behind him to fire Argentina to an opening 1-0 victory over Ecuador in World Cup qualifying on Thursday.

The 33-year-old great has been in open conflict with his club but it had no detrimental effect on his form as his 13th-minute penalty was the difference in a tight encounter.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner unsuccessfully tried to force his way out of the Catalan giants in the close season but he seemed much happier in the light blue and white jersey of his country.

And Argentina needed him to be on top form in a bid to avoid slipping up at home to Ecuador for the second successive time in an opening World Cup qualifier having lost 2-0 to the same opponents four years ago.

Ecuador’s goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez (R) and Argentina’s Lionel Messi greet each other at the end of their 2022 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier football match at La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires on October 8, 2020, amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.
AGUSTIN MARCARIAN / POOL / AFP

 

In the surreal atmosphere of an empty Bombonera — the iconic stadium in Buenos Aires that is usually bouncing from the passion of fervent fans was left barren by coronavirus restrictions — Argentina never looked in danger of another shock defeat.

The hosts predictably dominated possession but struggled to break down an organized and physical Ecuador outfit that proved a different proposition to the one dispatched 6-1 in a friendly a year ago.

The breakthrough came after a reckless challenge by Pervis Estupinan sent Lucas Ocampo sprawling in the box, with Messi stepping up to lash home his 71st international goal.

Ocampos was presented with a glorious chance to double the lead early in the second half but goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez dived full length to keep out his low shot from eight yards.

Rodrigo De Paul fired narrowly wide for the hosts with the last kick of the match.

In Montevideo, Luis Suarez scored a record-extending 60th international goal for Uruguay before substitute Maxi Gomez bagged an injury-time winner against Chile.

Atletico Madrid forward Suarez opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 39 minutes after Sebastian Vegas was harshly penalized for handball.

Inter Milan’s Alexis Sanchez equalised with a low shot on 54 minutes but Gomez had the last word with a stunning half-volley from 20 yards to complete the 2-1 win.

It was honors even between Paraguay and Peru in Asuncion as Angel Romero for the hosts and Andre Carrillo both scored a brace.

AFP

Argentina Becomes First Country To Approve Genetically Modified Wheat

This file photo taken on October 15, 2015 shows a wheat field in Ramallo, Buenos Aires Province. Argentina, the fourth largest wheat exporter in the world, became the first country to approve the commercialization of a variety of transgenic wheat, a development carried out in the South American country, which now awaits the approval of Brazil, its largest buyer.
Eitan ABRAMOVICH / AFP

 

Argentina has become the first country to approve genetically modified wheat, the country’s national scientific commission announced Thursday.

The commission said in a statement released in Buenos Aires that it had approved a drought-resistant variety of wheat in the world’s fourth-largest exporter of the crop.

“This is the first approval in the world for drought-tolerant genetic transformation in wheat,” the National Commission for Science and Technology (CONICET) said in a statement.

“In order to be marketed in Argentina, the genetic transformation of the wheat must be approved in Brazil, Argentina’s main historical wheat market,” CONICET said.

Some 45 percent of Argentina’s wheat exports in 2019 went to Brazil. Other key markets are Indonesia, Chile and Kenya.

The formal government approval is due to be published on Thursday or Friday.

The drought-resistant HB4 wheat variety was developed by Argentine biotechnology company Bioceres, working with the National University and CONICET.

“Now we must go out into the world and convince people that this is super good and be able to generate markets for this wheat, which represents an evolutionary leap,” said Bioceres chief Federico Trucco.

Trucco admitted that winning approval from Brazil may be difficult.

“The first country we have to convince is Brazil, and it may be hard work,” he said.

AFP