Soccer: Maradona determined to cure his addictions - doctor

BUENOS AIRES - Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona feels surprisingly well and is determined to cure his addictions after release from a two-week hospital stay for alcohol-abuse treatment, doctors said today.

Maradona will be at home for a couple of weeks, then may go to a Swiss clinic for further treatment, his doctor Alfredo Cahe said at a news conference, flanked by three other doctors from the team that treated him.

"This time Diego has heard the wake-up call. He's going to do something positive for himself," said Cahe, who has been Maradona's doctor for 31 years.

Maradona, 46, was hospitalised for alcohol-induced hepatitis and was sedated for days to help ease his withdrawal. He lost some 7kg during the hospitalisation, doctors said.

Alcohol is just the latest of the damaging addictions that have plagued Maradona in the decade since his retirement from professional soccer.

Known as one of the game's greatest players, the Argentine icon has undergone rehabilitation for cocaine abuse and had a stomach stapling operation to lose weight.

Cahe said he was surprised at how well Maradona was doing after the damage to his liver. "The hand of God has always helped him," Cahe said, referring to one of Maradona's most famous moments.

Maradona's crowning glory came in 1986 when he led Argentina to its second World Cup triumph. Part of that victory was a notorious goal he referred to as partly "the hand of God" after he appeared to punch the ball into the net in a game against England. Referees allowed the goal to stand.

Cahe said he would like Maradona to spend some time alone, surrounded by friends of his choosing, who make him happy. Treating addiction is a question of taking things one day at a time, he added.

In the past, Maradona has been surrounded by drug dealers and economic leeches.

- REUTERS

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