Argentina legend Diego Maradona has insisted he is 'fine' after requiring medical assistance after taking in an emotional and action-packed 2-1 victory for the Lionel Messi-inspired Albiceleste over Nigeria.
The 1986 World Cup winner has been a lively presence in the stands throughout a testing Russia 2018 campaign for Jorge Sampaoli’s side.
On Tuesday, the enigmatic 57-year-old was back in the stands to take in a must-win encounter in St Petersburg, with his evening proving to be as eventful as the action which played out on the field.
Argentina were able to book their place in the last 16 with a dramatic 86th-minute goal from Marcos Rojo , with that effort leading Maradona to indulge in his own unique brand of celebration .
It was, however, after the game finished that events appeared to take a turn for the worse.
Having ridden a rollercoaster of emotions, Maradona had to be helped from his place on the terraces and into an executive box as he struggled to remain upright.
Fears were immediately raised as to his wellbeing, but paramedics were quickly on the scene as an iconic figure recovered from the comfort of a chair away from the field.
Marten Arevalo, an Argentine journalist and friend of Maradona, revealed on social media that a sudden health scare had been caused by low blood pressure.
#Maradona está en el estadio. Le bajó la presión. Se está recuperando y se va.— Martin Arevalo (@arevalo_martin) June 26, 2018
And Maradona moved to allay fears for his wellbeing in an Instagram post, writing: "I want to tell everyone that I am fine, that I am not, nor was I, hospitalised.
"At half-time of the game against Nigeria, my neck hurt a lot and I suffered a decompensation.
"I was checked by a doctor and he recommended that I leave before the second half, but I wanted to stay because we were playing for everything. How could I leave?
"I send a kiss to everyone. Thanks for the support."
Castellano | Italiano | Inglés Quiero contarles que estoy bien, que no estoy ni estuve internado. En el entretiempo del partido con Nigeria me dolía mucho la nuca y sufrí una descompensación. Me revisó un médico y me recomendó que me fuera a casa antes del segundo tiempo, pero yo quise quedarme porque nos estábamos jugando todo. ¿Cómo me iba a ir? Les mando un beso a todos, perdón por el susto y gracias por el aguante, hay Diego para rato! Voglio solo dirvi che sto bene, che non sono e non sono stato ricoverato. Durante l'intervallo della partita con la Nigeria ho avuto un forte dolore alla nuca e un mancamento. Un medico mi ha visitato e mi ha consigliato di tornare a casa prima del secondo tempo, ma ho deciso di rimanere perché ci stavamo giocando il tutto per tutto. Come sarei potuto andarmene? Un bacio a tutti e grazie per il supporto... Diego ci sarà ancora per un bel po'! I want to tell everyone that I am fine, that I am not, neither was I interned. In the halftime of the game against Nigeria, my neck hurt a lot and I suffered a decompensation. I was checked by a doctor and he recommended me to go home before the second half, but I wanted to stay because we were risking it all. How could I leave? I send a kiss to everyone, thanks for the support!
It now remains to be seen whether Maradona will be back in attendance for a meeting with France on Saturday.
Argentina will face Didier Deschamps’ much-fancied outfit in Kazan after finishing as runners-up in Group D.
They will need to raise their game considerably for that contest, and will require all the support they can muster.
Sampaoli’s side did, however, see talismanic captain Messi get back among the goals against Nigeria and displayed the kind of battling spirit to prevail which had been sadly lacking during a disappointing draw with Iceland and humbling defeat to Croatia.