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Sunday 4 December 2016

Football legend Diego Maradona undergoes gastric bypass, recovering well - doctors

Lenin Danieri

Published 15/11/2015 | 22:51

Diego Maradona Photo: Getty
Diego Maradona Photo: Getty

Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona underwent a gastric bypass in the western Venezuelan city of Maracaibo over the weekend and is recovering well, doctors said on Sunday.

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The 55-year-old former World Cup winner went through a similar operation around a decade ago and has battled ill health since his soccer heyday in the 1980s.

Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona
Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona

"He is walking and in good spirits," said Carlos Felipe Chaux, one of the surgeons who treated him, told reporters at a Maracaibo hotel.

Maradona will remain in Venezuela for at least 12 more days to recover, he added.

Former footballer Diego Maradona in the stands
Action images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers
Livepic
Former footballer Diego Maradona in the stands Action images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic

Suffering shortages of medicines and surgical equipment, Venezuela may seem an odd choice for the operation. However, Maradona has long been close to the country's socialist government.

Soon after the arrest of high-ranking FIFA officials earlier this year, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro suggested Maradona would be a good fit for the next president of the embattled soccer organization.

Striker Diego Maradona with then-president Carlos Menem before a charity football match in Argentina in 1989
Striker Diego Maradona with then-president Carlos Menem before a charity football match in Argentina in 1989

Maradona captained Argentina in their 1986 World Cup win though less than a decade later, he was excluded from the U.S. World Cup finals for doping.

Drug-addiction, overeating and alcoholism had put a sharp end to an otherwise glorious career. He nearly died in 2000 after a cocaine overdose.

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona

Yet, in 2010, he managed Argentina's national team at the South Africa World Cup.

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