Diego Maradona will undergo surgery on Tuesday to treat a serious subdural hematoma, his doctor confirmed.
Maradona was admitted to hospital on Monday after reportedly feeling unwell for several days. He appeared weak and needed help walking in his most recent public appearance on Friday.
While early statements from personal physician Leopoldo Luque were upbeat, it was later revealed that the legend would require an operation after a blood clot was discovered on his brain.
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"Diego is conscious, he understands and agrees with this intervention," Luque explained to reporters outside the Ipensa clinic in La Plata, 37 miles south of Buenos Aires. "He is very calm. This is a routine surgery. He has something similar to what [former President of Argentina and current vice-president] Cristina [Fernandez de Kirchner] had."
Maradona's personal doctor had previously said that the 60-year-old's condition is improving.
“He is much better than yesterday, and he is looking forward to leaving. I would like him to stay one more day,” Luque told local media.
“He is anemic, a little dehydrated, we must correct this and see that he continues to improve. We want to improve his condition as much as possible, and we need a little more time for that."
Luque admitted that he had a minor disagreement with Maradona over the length of his stay in the hospital, with the doctor looking to keep the World Cup winner hospitalised for a bit longer.
"Because he sees himself better, he wants to leave," Luque said. "I asked him to hang on. He had a good night and is in a good mood. We were joking around and we walked a bit inside the clinic. He's evolving as we expected."
Fans of Gimnasia La Plata, the local club where Maradona serves as head coach, flocked outside the hospital – a gesture that Luque said can be beneficial for the icon's recovery.
“What he needs most is the support of the people,” Luque said.
Maradona, who turned 60 on Friday, has had a number of health scares over the years. The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2005 to help in his battle with weight, then underwent the same procedure again in 2015.
He was also admitted to hospital in January 2019 with internal bleeding in the stomach, while he fell ill at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, being filmed passing out at the game between Argentina and Nigeria.
Widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, Maradona won the 1986 World Cup with Argentina before falling short in the final four years later.