HAVANA: Fallen soccer great Diego Maradona will return to Cuba tomorrow to be shut away in a mental clinic for more drug treatment, Argentine diplomats said on Friday.
“Everything is ready for him to arrive on Monday night,” an Argentine embassy official said.
After a press conference at Havana airport, the 43-year-old former Argentina captain will be confined to Cuba’s Centre for Mental Health (CENSAM) until he kicks his cocaine addiction. He will be accompanied by a sister and his personal doctor Alfredo Cahe.
Maradona has made Cuba his second home in recent years, saying the island offers him respite from the media and fan frenzy in Europe and South America.
But on a visit to Argentina in April, the bloated Maradona was rushed to intensive care with heart problems and his family then forced him to enter a psychiatric clinic.
The family has since given him the go-ahead to return to Cuba for further drug rehabilitation in a closed institution.
Maradona had looked healthier in recent interviews, but photographs taken last week showed his weight had apparently ballooned again. Last Saturday he was taken to a Buenos Aires hospital for a time with breathing problems, but was then sent back to a drug treatment centre.
Maradona, one of the most gifted players in the history of soccer who led Argentina to victory at the 1986 World Cup, says he has been fighting drug addiction for much of the last 20 years.
For almost four years, Maradona lived at Havana’s La Pradera health farm, where he partied with friends while playing golf almost daily at the city’s only golf club.
This time he will undergo stricter treatment at the CENSAM, an enclosed compound of bungalows and gardens run by Cuba’s Interior Ministry in Havana. – Reuters