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September 18, 2009

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Maradona drug use denied

MARADONA'S personal physician dismissed speculation that his client is being treated for drug use.

"Maradona has not relapsed into using drugs," Alfredo Cahe said on Wednesday.

Maradona checked into a clinic in northern Italy this week, where his doctor said the former football great will be treated for weight gain and stress. His departure from Argentina, after damaging losses to Brazil and Paraguay in World Cup qualifying games, prompted immediate speculation about his widely reported battle with drugs.

With two qualifying games remaining next month, Argentina is in danger of missing its first World Cup since 1970, and Maradona is taking much of the blame.

Five years ago, Maradona was near death on a respirator after suffering a heart attack attributed to a cocaine overdose. He says he's been clean since. He has also had a gastric bypass to lose weight.

Cahe said the trip to the spa-clinic in Merano, Italy, had been planned before the losses to Brazil and Paraguay.

"This was not something improvised at the last moment," Cahe said.

"His (partner) Victoria chose the place."

Cahe acknowledged the move was also designed to get Maradona away from the highly critical Argentine media, putting him in isolation where he can concentrate on his diet and relaxation.


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