'I'm fine' - Argentina legend Maradona allays health fears after requiring medical assistance

The 1986 World Cup winner was in attendance as the Albiceleste edged out Nigeria in dramatic fashion on Tuesday to book their place in the last 16

Maradona watched Argentina reach the knockout stages last night.
Maradona watched Argentina reach the knockout stages last night.

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 took a sudden 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.

He stated that the former Barcelona and Napoli star was “recovering and leaving” after being given the help and rest period he required.

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.”

Gavin Cooney
Reports From Qatar

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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.

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