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SPORTS | 02-11-2020 23:24

Maradona admitted to hospital in La Plata, but not for Covid-19

Diego Maradona was admitted to hospital Monday for medical checks, though doctors say it was not an "emergency" nor coronavirus-related reason.

Diego Maradona was admitted to hospital Monday for medical checks, three days after his 60th birthday, his personal doctor announced.

"It's not a serious situation and we didn't come for an emergency," Leopoldo Luque told reporters outside the clinic in La Plata, south of Buenos Aires.

Though he gave no details of the legendary footballer's condition, Luque said his patient would undergo a series of medical check-ups.

"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, he added.Maradona, who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse and poor health, is considered at high risk of Covid-19 complications should he be infected. He has suffered two heart attacks in the past and contracted hepatitis.

"Diego is fine, but he can be much better. I didn't find him the way I wanted to see him. I had a previous talk with him, I told him: 'Let's go to a clinic to improve a little,' and he said: 'Well, let's go,'" said Luque.

A staffer who works with Maradona told The Associated Press that he former footballer had been "very sad for a week" and did not want to eat. He requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak about the issue.

“He has been very sad for a week, didn't want to eat," the staffer said, adding that Maradona's personal doctor Leopoldo Luque took the former footballer to a hospital so he could undergo health checks.

The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli player is in a regular room at the clinic. Luque said Maradona can choose to go home whenever he wants.

The former Argentina captain, who led his team to triumph in the 1986 World Cup, is currently coach of top-flight side Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. 

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.

"I didn't go to see him that day, but the day before he was very well," his doctor told reporters outside the clinic in La Plata, where Gimnasia is based.

Maradona went into self-isolation last month after a bodyguard showed symptoms of the virus, though he later tested negative. 

– TIMES/AFP

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