Argentina legend Diego Maradona has been sedated after suffering “episodes of confusion” linked to alcohol withdrawal, with doctors admitting they “need to take the bull by the horns” as he remains hospitalized in Buenos Aires.
The iconic striker had emergency surgery on a blood clot on the brain on Tuesday and needs “permanent help” once he leaves hospital, experts caring for him have urged.
Troubled Maradona had reportedly danced in his room and asked to leave treatment after the operation, horrifying experts who have tried to help him since he left a match involving Gimnasia, the club he coaches, on Saturday.
The 60-year-old was presented with a plaque and cake at the game, having celebrated his birthday the previous day, but was eventually persuaded to visit a clinic after reluctantly admitting that he was struggling.
“He has to have treatment to stop drinking alcohol and all his family is in agreement that Diego, as he is now, is unmanageable,” Reuters quoted Alfredo Cahe as telling TV channel TyC Sports.
“We need to take the bull by the horns. He has liver problems, cardiovascular problems.
“It’s not his brain on one hand, his liver on another, his stomach – it’s a mix of things.
“We need to clean Diego up and then we’ll see. He is still a complicated patient.”
The 1986 World Cup winner has had several spells in hospital over the years, some of which have been linked to his taste for extravagance.
“What Diego’s future is going to look like is a mystery and it worries me,” confessed Cahe, his long-term medic. “He can’t go home like this.”
Leopoldo Luque, the former Barcelona and Napoli forward’s doctor, also outlined the difficulties of dealing with the hugely popular figure.
“He still needs to be taken care of,” he insisted to Mundo Deportivo, describing the challenges of encouraging Maradona to accept help.
“He criticized both me and the medical staff. Since I met him, I have always wanted to give him the best possible help but Diego is very, very difficult.
“You cannot imagine how difficult it is at times with him, but we will do everything to keep him healthy.”