Hopes on Cuban president to help Maradona

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/M/Maradona.jpg' class='caption'> Diego Maradona's doctors hope a tough paternal role by President Fidel Castro will help the Maradona cure his drug addiction in Cuba.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Diego Maradona's doctors hope a tough paternal role by President Fidel Castro will help the Argentine World Cup hero finally cure his drug addiction in Cuba. The doctors plan to ask Castro to take advantage of the friendly relationship he has with Maradona to become a strict father to him when he returns here for treatment. Basing his comments on a recent conversation with Maradona's doctor Alfredo Cahe, Taleb said that the former sports great would receive no special privileges in Cuba and could be returned to Argentina. He could even lose his property if he failed to follow the court ordered treatment plan. Treatment to start soon When Maradona returns to Cuba in the coming days for treatment, he will stay in a locked psychiatric centre. While undergoing treatment in Cuba in the past, Maradona stayed at the upscale La Pradera health tourism resort, where he could come and go as he pleased and invite people to his guest house. Castro has characterised himself as a friend and admirer of Maradona, and in early July said he hoped Maradona could return to Cuba, where he spent several years undergoing treatment for drug problems. Castro himself has not publicly commented on the ruling by a federal judge in Buenos Aires that Maradona could return to Cuba. Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said yesterday that Maradona would be welcomed on the island. Hoping on a friend It was not immediately announced when Maradona would travel to the island. Maradona, who bears a tattoo of Castro's face on one leg, has also expressed admiration for the Cuban leader. The 43-year-old Maradona has been receiving treatment in Argentina since early May, after twice being rushed to a clinic for heart and lung problems. An admitted cocaine addict, the former Argentine captain had been barred from leaving his native country after several family members sought a legal injunction to keep him from travelling without their consent. Maradona's former wife and parents had urged him to continue treatment at home where he could be more closely monitored. A close watch Maradona, who has been confined to a psychiatric hospital for the last three months, appealed to judicial authorities to let him go to Cuba, where he was in a drug rehabilitation programme for four years before travelling to Argentina earlier this year. Argentine Judge Norberto Garcia Vedia, who has been overseeing Maradona's rehabilitation, said that the family agreed to his request to seek treatment abroad. Maradona has said he would prefer to return to Cuba, where he insists he can remain out of the public eye. Hector Leguizamon, a member of Maradona's legal team, said that Maradona was expected to travel to Cuba with his father, a sister and his personal physician to resume treatment at the Havana psychiatric centre. In Cuba, Maradona is to stay in the National Centre for Mental Health, a sprawling complex of individual houses with red-tile roofs in a quiet, palm-tree dotted neighborhood in western Havana. A portrait of revolutionary icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara marks the main entrance to the centre. Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title and 1990 final, and retired in 1997. In 2000, FIFA chose him and Pele as the greatest players in history. (AP)

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