Football legend Maradona back in hospital

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BUENOS AIRES: Argentine football idol Diego Maradona was hospitalized again Friday with abdominal pain, two days after being released after treatment for hepatitis and other effects of alcohol abuse, his doctor said.

Maradona, 46, was taken to the emergency ward of a hospital 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Buenos Aires early in the morning said Alfredo Cahe, who added his life was not in danger.

There is no risk to his life. He entered the hospital with a strong abdominal pain, Cahe said in a terse statement to Radio del Plata.

Maradona was accompanied to the hospital by his girlfriend Veronica Ojeda, in whose house he was staying after being discharged from a private Buenos Aires hospital on Wednesday.

The former captain of Argentina s winning World Cup side and star for Barcelona and Napoli spent 13 days in the hospital from late March to be treated for excessive drinking which sparked a return of chronic hepatitis, which he has suffered for years.

He only checked out two days ago, with his doctor saying he may have to continue treatment for alcoholism for the rest of his life.

But on Wednesday he announced he was healthy enough to attend a game this coming Sunday at Bombonera stadium to watch his old team Boca Juniors play rival River Plate.

On Sunday I will go (to the stadium), with IV, with my doctor, in ambulance, however, Maradona said in a telephone interview with TyC Sports channel, predicting that Boca would win.

Maradona, who has a special booth at the Candy Box, as the fans call the stadium, vowed to go see Boca until I use the last drop of my blood.

It is not the first time Maradona, named one of the 20th century s greatest players after leading his squad to the 1986 World Cup title, has been hospitalized due to his excessive lifestyle.

His career on and off the football field has been marred by repeated drug and alcohol abuse. He has suffered from hepatitis B since 1991, when he played for Barcelona.

He was hospitalized in 2000 and 2004 for heart attacks provoked by cocaine overdoses.

But according to Cahe, this time Maradona has acknowledged his problems.

Diego is very intelligent, extremely intuitive, Cahe said Wednesday. It is difficult to maintain with him a dialogue with questions and answers, but he knows how to listen.

His physical and psychological evolution is so good, even I am astonished, Cahe told reporters.

The star, who was rushed to the clinic on March 28, lost between six and seven kilos (13 and 15 pounds) during the hospital stay, Cahe said.

Maradona is lucid, coherent, calm, said Daniel Tejada, one of the two psychiatrists who looked after him at the hospital.

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