June 19, 2024
Diego Maradona discharged from clinic following successful brain surgery

Diego Maradona discharged from clinic following successful brain surgery

Maradona, who turned 60 on October 30, had surgery for a blood clot on his brain last week and the subdural hematoma surgery was successful, according to his doctor Leopoldo Luque.

The former footballer is now under outpatient medical care and will be supervised by a new interdisciplinary team, Luque said.

Luque also said last week that Maradona had been displaying withdrawal symptoms — including a “sweating reaction” and “at one point anger” — that were “mainly due to consumption … throughout his life.”

It is a blood clot on the brain’s surface beneath its outer covering, called the dura. It is usually caused by severe head injuries, but can also be caused by minor injuries and can go unnoticed for days or weeks.

Leopoldo Luque, Diego Maradona's  personal physician, gives a medical report outside the clinic.

‘The poorest city in Italy buys the most expensive player in the world’

Maradona is widely considered one of the best players of all time, where his highs resulted in World Cup victories and a remarkable Serie A title for Napoli, though the colorful life he’s lived off the field has led to extreme lows, notably issues with addiction, substance abuse, illegitimate children, and feuds over money.

An unacknowledged son, photo ops with the mafia and cocaine binges were all documented in British Oscar-winning film-maker Asif Kapadia’s documentary on Maradona’s time at Napoli, arguably the period of his footballing career where he had the most success.

Born 1960 in the Villa Fiorito area of Buenos Aires, Maradona says football was his “salvation” which helped him to raise his family out of poverty before leaving for a world record transfer fee to Barcelona in 1982.

After being ravaged by injuries at the Catalan club, he was signed by Napoli, or, as one newsreader put it: “The poorest city in Italy buys the most expensive player in the world.”

During his time at Napoli, he almost singlehandedly guided the club to it’s first ever Serie A title, followed that up with its second a year later, then won the UEFA Cup, before leading Argentina to a World Cup final over West Germany in 1986.

And while he is just one of many world class Argentine forwards — he shot to prominence after Real Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano and before Barcelona supremo Lionel Messi — it is Maradona’s chutzpah which arguably separates him from the rest.

Maradona fans gather outside the hospital where he underwent brain surgery for a blood clot.
“If he hosts a TV show, it’s the most amazing and surreal TV show anybody has ever seen,” Argentine journalist Marcela Mora y Araujo wrote for CNN.

“If he enters a room, people stand in ceremony and tell the tale for years after of how they were in the room when he entered it. Power. Charm. Talent. And the ability to be seen to be frail, vulnerable and imperfect with it.”

Taking the world by storm

He was a household name before it, but the 1986 World Cup in Mexico was where Maradona shot to stardom.

A 26-year-old at the peak of his powers, Maradona scored twice en route to the quarterfinals. And it was in that iconic game against England where he took center stage.

In the 51st minute, he rose, out-jumping England’s legendary keeper Peter Shilton, with his arm stretched up, closed fist, and simply punched the ball into the net in what he called the “Hand of God” afterwards.

Maradona outjumps Peter Shilton to score the "Hand of God" goal in the 1986 World Cup.

As Mora y Araujo wrote, “As shocking as it was unfair, the tension only rises as the fans inside the stadium are watching on TV wonder if the goal will stand.”

And if his first goal showed his impish, cheeky side, Maradona’s “Goal of the Century” that followed just four minutes later showed the brilliance of the man.

Receiving the ball on the halfway line, Maradona dribbled past seven English defenders before slotting past Shilton

“Each one ‘left for dead’ as the English commentator said at the time. Each one with a stunned look in their face, a mixture of horror that this was being done against them and admiration that they had such exclusive access to witness this marvel,” Mora y Araujo said.

Maradona runs past English defender Terry Butcher (left) on his way to beating goalkeeper Peter Shilton (right) and scoring his second goal against England in the World Cup in 1986.

Off the field

While he was playing the best football of his life in Mexico, Maradona’s personal life was not going so well.

His mistress Cristiana Sinagra was back in Italy, heavily pregnant with Diego Armando Maradona Sinagra. For years he refused to acknowledge paternity and did not meet his son until 2003.

Kapadia’s film shows occasions when Maradona came into contact with the Camorra — the Neapolitan mafia — with the documentary flashing up photographs of the footballer smiling alongside members of the crime syndicate.

As a Napoli player at the height of his addiction he would party from Sunday to Wednesday, Maradona describing how he would return home and lock himself in the bathroom to hide from his infant daughters.

Diego Maradona directs his Gimnasia team from a pitch side throne.

Following a failed drug test in 1991 and a 15-month ban from football, his career on the pitch fizzled out. While he had stints in Spain and back in Argentina, he failed to reclaim that form which dazzled fans and opponents.

A nomadic managerial career has followed his playing career, taking him from Argentina and Mexico to the United Arab Emirates.