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Friday, March 30, 2007

The Nine Lives Of Diego Armando Maradona

Yesterday in Buenos Aires, Diego Armando Maradona was admitted to the Sanatario Guemes hospital center. According to his personal physician, Doctor Alfredo Cahe, along with the hospital director, Dr. Hector Pezzella, Mr. Maradona suffers from a chronic liver problem. Hopes are that it does not escalate into cirrhosis.

Dr. Cahe blamed the latest decline in Mr. Maradona's health to excessive eating, drinking, and cigar smoking due to depression over certain family problems. "He woke up at 0230 and insulted me. He didn't want to be there. They sedated him again and he fell asleep." (1) According to Dr. Pezzella, the latest problem would keep Mr. Maradona in hospital for at least 15 days.

Since 2000, Mr. Maradona has suffered a series of health setbacks, along with miraculous recoveries. After retiring from competitive football in 1997, he admitted to cocaine dependency. In 2000, he was hospitalized with severe heart problems. A more serious event occurred in 2004, when he was hospitalized with breathing and heart abnormalities that required ten days of intensive care. Some thought that he might die, but the whole of Argentina prayed for his speedy recovery.

Like a phoenix from the ashes, Mr. Maradona rose again. He had a stomach stapling procedure done in Colombia, lost a lot of weight, and became "Dieguito" once again. He created a TV show called, "Noche Del Diez," and even reconciled on the air with his lifetime nemesis and rival, Pele'. He then began to seemingly appear everywhere around the world, and played in a few celebrity football matches. His metamorphis was incredible. I saw him from Davis Cup tennis matches, Boca Juniors games, the Olympics, the World Cup, and he returned to his beloved Naples for the farewell match of Ciro Ferrara. As they say in Naples, "There is the sea, Mount Vesuvius, and Maradona."

All the best wishes for a rapid recovery to the man who gave us all so much pleasure on the football pitch. Despite the self-destructive behavior from his personal life, he is a revered figure in Argentine culture. We all deserve a second chance, but for men like Diego Maradona, perhaps they are allocated a few more.


(1) Maradona Still In Hospital: Football Italia, 30 March 2007.

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