Diego Maradona was “unmanageable” and should have been sent to rehab after a recent brain operation, the football star’s personal doctor has said.
In an emotional statement, Leopoldo Luque said he was “shocked” that he was being probed over alleged negligence amid reports the footballer’s death is being treated as manslaughter.
In a bold attempt to show he has nothing to hide, Dr Luque drove to the prosecutor’s office in Buenos Aires yesterday to volunteer for questioning a day after his home and office were searched.
World Cup winner Maradona, 60, an icon in Argentina, died of heart failure at his home in Buenos Aires on Wednesday after a period of ill health.
Yet, two of the star’s daughters Dalma and Giannina have told police they suspected the medication their father was given was not appropriate.
On Sunday, following the 40-minute search on his home, Dr Luque, a neurosurgeon, said he did “everything he could, up to the impossible” and considered himself a “friend” of Maradona.
He also revealed Maradona was battling addiction problems when he died.
During an emotional news conference, the doctor said the footballer had issues with pills and booze, adding: “He punished himself in a way I wasn’t going to allow, not as a doctor but as a friend.”
Between sobs, the 39-year-old said: “You want to know what I am responsible for? For having loved him, for having taken care of him, for having extended his life, for having improved it to the end.”
He said Maradona was his own worst enemy when it came to accepting help from professionals for his addiction problems.
Describing the former Naples and Barcelona star as “difficult”, Dr Luque said: “You couldn’t do anything if Diego didn’t want it.
“He hated doctors and psychologists. With me it was different because I was honest with him. He was my friend.”