BUENOS AIRES - Diego Maradona suffered
an unexpected interruption to his World Cup preparations on
Tuesday when he was bitten in the face by one of his pet dogs.
Plastic surgeons repaired his upper lip after the Argentina
coach was admitted to the Los Arcos clinic in Buenos Aires with
bloody wounds caused by a Chinese Shar-Pei called Bela.
Maradona needed 10 stitches in his lip and will have to rest
for three days, a medical source at the clinic said.
He was driven away after around 15 hours at the clinic by
his brother Lalo, returning to his mansion in a plush
neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital and close to the
national team's training facility.
Maradona did not speak to reporters but Fernando Molina,
boyfriend of his elder daughter Dalma and his personal press
officer, told Reuters: "He's already at home and he's in good
Maradona, who as a player captained Argentina to their
second World Cup title in 1986, was hospitalised in the same
clinic in 2007 with toxic hepatitis from drinking.
His Argentina team, despite struggling to qualify, are among
the favourites to win the World Cup in South Africa that starts
on June 11.
Maradona is worshipped in Argentina despite years of scandal
involving drug addiction, overeating and alcoholism and is no
stranger to hospitals and clinics.
The 49-year-old retired from professional football in 1997 and
almost died from cocaine-induced heart problems in 2000.
In 2008, despite concerns over his continued substance
abuse, explosive conduct and lack of coaching experience, he
talked his way into the national job after predecessor Alfio
Basile resigned halfway through the qualifiers.
Argentina needed a victory away to Uruguay in Montevideo in
their last qualifier in October to secure their place in South
Africa and avoid missing the finals for the first time since
Maradona's team, who are in Group B with Nigeria, Greece and
South Korea, will arrive at their Pretoria base at the end of
May after a warm-up against Canada in Buenos Aires on May 24 and
possibly another in Dubai against a local side, team sources
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