BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona is cracking jokes as he makes an “amazing” recovery following surgery for a brain clot, his personal physician told reporters on Wednesday evening.
Leopoldo Luque, also Maradona’s neurosurgeon, said the 60-year-old had “no neurological damage” and he was “amazed by his recovery” at the Olivos Clinic in Buenos Aires province where he underwent the operation on Tuesday.
“Diego joked, made jokes. I’m excited, I’m happy to see him like that,” Luque told reporters as fans gathered outside to chant the name of the man who led Argentina to victory at the 1986 World Cup.
His comments followed a similarly optimistic assessment by Maradona’s lawyer.
Matias Morla said Maradona was in “excellent” condition as he rejected speculation that he could go to Venezuela or Cuba to recuperate.
“The last medical report was excellent,” he said. “Let’s stay strong and we’ll get through this.”
Maradona has previously expressed his fondness for the two nations and he spent several years in Cuba undergoing drug rehabilitation at the start of this century.
But Morla said the former Napoli, Barcelona and Boca Juniors player would complete his recuperation in Argentina, where he is coach of first division side Gimnasia y Esgrima.
“Diego loves Cuba, yesterday I spoke with Fidel Castro’s son,” Morla told reporters as he left the clinic where Maradona was operated on for a subdural haematoma, a blood clot on the brain, on Monday.
“Venezuela, as well as Cuba, are friendly nations for Diego… but Diego’s head is with Gimnasia.”
Maradona, who is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, has spent frequent periods in hospital over the years, often due to his extravagant lifestyle.
Dozens of Gimnasia fans have converged on the hospital since Monday evening, waving flags and holding posters with messages of support as they waited for news.
(Reporting by Ramiro Scandolo in Buenos Aires, writing by Andrew Downie and Aislinn Laing,; Editing by Ed Osmond)