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Diego Maradona, shown here on September 1, 2020, is not believed to be suffering from the coronavirus, according to local media

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Hospitalized Maradona ‘weak, tired’ but improving: doctor

Flags bearing the image of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona hang outside a clinic in La Plata, where the 60-year-old was admitted on Monday © AFP / JUAN MABROMATA

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov 2 – Argentine football legend Diego Maradona “is much better and eager to leave” after being admitted to hospital for medical checks, his doctor said Tuesday.

The 60-year-old is suffering from anemia — a lack of iron in his system — and dehydration, which had left him feeling “very weak, very tired,” Leopoldo Luque said.

“He is much better than yesterday, and he is looking forward to leaving. I would like him to stay one more day,” Luque told reporters outside the Ipensa clinic in La Plata, south of Buenos Aires.

Leopoldo Luque, the personal physician of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, gives an update on his condition outside a clinic in La Plata, Argentina, November 2020 © AFP / JUAN MABROMATA

“He is anemic, a little dehydrated, we must correct this and see that he continues to improve,” said Luque.

Fans of Argentine top-tier club Gimnasia, where Maradona is coach, flocked to the clinic to leave messages of support for the ailing icon.

“What he needs most is the support of the people,” Luque said.

Normally, Maradona’s current ailments would require he stay approximately three days in hospital, the doctor said. “That’s my goal, but he has autonomy and can go.”

When he does leave hospital, he will need long-term outpatient care for anemia, the doctor said, adding that because of a gastric bypass Maradona underwent in 2005 to lose 50 kilos, his body has difficulty retaining iron, leaving him prone to the condition.

Diego Maradona (pictured September 2020) was hospitalized in Argentina, but his doctor ruled out any link to the coronavirus © Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata/AFP/File / Eva PARDO

Maradona, who celebrated his 60th birthday last Friday, was admitted to hospital on Monday. The doctor had ruled out any link to the coronavirus pandemic, which is ravaging the South American country, much of it still under confinement.

Maradona, who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse and poor health, is considered at high risk of coronavirus complications should he be infected.

He has suffered two heart attacks in the past and contracted hepatitis.

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A supporter of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona writes a message outside the Ipensa clinic in La Plata where the star was admitted for medical checks on Monday © AFP / JUAN MABROMATA

Though he has recovered from a well-documented addiction to hard drugs, Maradona takes medication in the form of tranquilizers and anxiolytics.

“With a patient on medication, there are times when hospitalization serves to adjust that medication. That’s good,” said the doctor.

The former Argentina captain led his team to victory in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Along with Brazil’s Pele, Maradona is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time.

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