Legendary Argentine football icon underwent a successful brain surgery on a blood clot on Tuesday night.

A banner with a portrait of Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona hangs outside the hospital where he was admitted in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 3, 2020.
A banner with a portrait of Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona hangs outside the hospital where he was admitted in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 3, 2020. (Reuters)

Argentine football great Diego Maradona underwent successful brain surgery on a blood clot on Tuesday night, his doctor has said.

"We managed to successfully remove the clot. Diego coped well with the surgery," Leopoldo Luque said at the icon's private clinic in the capital Buenos Aires.

"It's under control, there's a little drainage (of blood). He'll remain under observation."

Maradona, 60, had gone to hospital in La Plate - where he is the coach at Gimnasia y Esgrima - on Monday after falling ill.

What happened?

It was announced by his personal doctor that Diego Maradona will undergo surgery because of possible bleeding on his brain.

"He has a subdural hematoma," Dr Leopoldo Luque told journalists on Tuesday. "We will do it today."

The doctor said Maradona has an accumulation of blood between a membrane and his brain.

Luque, who is a neurologist, said the problem was likely caused by an accident, but Maradona said he doesn't remember the event.

The doctor said he will perform the surgery himself at a hospital that he did not identify.

The 1986 World Cup champion was admitted to a private hospital with signs of depression on Monday, three days after his 60th birthday.

Maradona 'very weak, very tired'

A scan revealed the blood clot, which Argentine media are speculating was the result of a blow to the head.

Earlier in the day, Luque claimed Maradona was feeling "much better and eager to leave" hospital but insisted that he was suffering from anemia - a lack of iron in his system - and dehydration.

Luque said it has left him feeling "very weak, very tired." After further tests he was diagnosed with the blood clot.

He was transferred from a hospital in La Plata, 60 kilometres south of Buenos Aires, to a specialist clinic in the capital.

Luque had earlier suggested Maradona's lifestyle had contributed to his condition.

"He's an elderly patient with many pressures in his life. It's a time when we must help him. It's very difficult to be Maradona," Luque said of the star.

The doctor ruled out any link to the coronavirus pandemic, which is ravaging the South American country, much of it still under confinement.

Maradona at high risk of coronavirus

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.

Last week he began self-isolation for the second time after a bodyguard displayed coronavirus symptoms, though he later tested negative.

He joined his players briefly at the club's training ground on his birthday but had obvious difficulty walking and had to be helped away by his assistants after staying only 30 minutes.

"It breaks my heart to see him like this," one of his daughters, Giannina, tweeted the next day.

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

He has difficulty retaining iron due to a gastric bypass surgery he underwent in 2005 to lose 50 kilos, leaving him prone to anemia, Luque said.

Messages of support

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

"With a patient on medication, there are times when hospitalisation serves to adjust that medication. That's good," said Luque.

Gimnasia fans flocked to the La Plata clinic to leave messages of support for the ailing icon.

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

Alongside Brazil's Pele, who turned 80 last month, Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies