DIEGO MARADONA is “resting” in his room after an 80-minute operation for a blood clot on his brain.
The 60-year-old legend faces up to a week in hospital before he is allowed home after undergoing surgery at the private Olivos Clinic on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Daughter Dalma, who rushed to her father’s side on Tuesday after it emerged medics had discovered the bleed on his brain during a CT scan, tweeted overnight: “I’ve just left the clinic and I want to thank everyone for their constant displays of love for my dad.
“Thanks to all those of you who prayed for him.”
The retired footballer’s personal physician Leopoldo Luque, speaking around an hour after the op finished at 10.20pm local time, added: “Diego tolerated the surgery excellently and he’s doing very well.
“We’ve left a small tube in to facilitate drainage which will be removed today.
“Him coming round after the surgery was a very big step. The haematoma has been evacuated very well and his brain beat is recovering.
“His evolution now has to be monitored day by day. The beginning has been very good for an operation which is not of high-complexity, but is nevertheless brain surgery.”
The former Naples and Barcelona star is expected to remain in hospital for between 72 hours and a week before continuing his recovery at home.
He was operated on after being transferred from a private clinic in the city of La Plata just over an hour’s drive south where Gimnasia y Esgrima, the top-flight Argentinian side he now manages, is based.
Fans outside the Ipensa Clinic chanted his name as he was driven away in an ambulance with a police escort including a patrol car and two motorbikes.
More noisy supporters were waiting to welcome him at the Olivos Clinic, where he had a knee op in July last year, after his hospital transfer was relayed live on Argentinian TV.
Maradona had agreed to hospital tests in La Plata after leaving his team’s cup match before kick-off last Friday following a tribute to mark his 60th birthday.
He had to be helped to walk and appeared to have difficulties speaking, prompting daughter Dalma who is the youngest of his two children by ex-wife Claudia Villafane to tell a fan on social media shocked by his frail health: “It tears my soul apart.”
A subdural haematoma is a build-up of blood on the surface of the brain.
The blood builds up in a space between the protective layers surrounding the brain.
The most common cause is head injury which can be from a car crash, fall or violent attack.
Playing high-impact sports also puts people at higher risk.
Maradona’s tight-knit circle of aides, who include his lawyer Matias Morla, are pointing to a head injury as the most probable cause but have not been able to identify when it might have happened.
One was quoted as saying: “It could have been a month ago or five years ago, it’s not clear.”
Maradona’s new health scare is the latest in a long line of medical problems he has suffered.
Last November the former footballer was forced to deny he was dying in an extraordinary video address to fans after Gianinna hinted he was being “killed from inside” with sedatives.
He also told his growing brood of children he will leave them nothing after his death because he will donate his fortune to charity.