Diego Maradona Pictured Boarding Flight as Reports of Hospitalisation Are Denied

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2018

Diego Armando Maradona during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group  D match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 26, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Argentina legend Diego Maradona has denied reports he was hospitalised after La Albiceleste's 2-1 win over Nigeria.

The 57-year-old was pictured boarding a flight following the game after conflicting stories had emerged about his health.

Per the Mirror's Gerard Couzens, Maradona sent a WhatsApp voice recording to compatriot and journalist Daniel Arcucci:

"Where we were they were only serving white wine. Yes, we drank all the wine, but now I'm talking to you and I'm telling you the truth.

"I swear on the lives of my mum, my grandson Benjamin and my son Dieguito Fernando's life that nothing happened.

"At the end of the first half we went to eat. I like red wine and there was white wine."

He also sent a message to his partner, Rocio Oliva, in which he said: "Hello my love. No heart attack, no injection, nothing. I don't know where they're getting it from that I had heart problems or I had to be an adrenaline shot. It all seems so mad, so stupid."

In contradiction with his comments to Arcucci, he added: "It's 3 a.m. and we're just getting back to Moscow without any problems. No alcohol or important story."

He later took to Instagram to offer reassurances, and said:

"I want to tell everyone that I am fine, that I am not, neither was I interned. In the half-time of the game against Nigeria, my neck hurt a lot and I suffered a decompensation. I was checked by a doctor and he recommended me to go home before the second half, but I wanted to stay because we were risking it all. How could I leave? I send a kiss to everyone, thanks for the support!"

Amid reports he had been hospitalised, Colombian journalist Patricia Villegas also shared two pictures of Maradona, the first of him smiling alongside two World Cup officials and the second of him on a plane shortly after:

Per the Mirror's Natalie Evans and Thomas Bristow, the first tweet said: "June 27th, 2018. 1:08 a.m. Russia. Diego Maradona about to take flight to Moscow."

The 57-year-old received plenty of attention during the match in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday night, where he could be seen praying, cheering and making middle-finger gestures from the stands.

However, he appeared to need help getting out of his seat following the final whistle. Sports Illustrated relayed footage from Twitter user Steve Spoiler:

The Guardian's Ed Aarons subsequently noted reports of his hospitalisation:

Per the Mirror's Darren Lewis, Maradona—who had heart attacks in 2000 and 2004did receive some medical treatment at the stadium but did not go to hospital for further care:

The forward, who earned 91 caps for Argentina and won the World Cup in 1986, has been spotted at each of the team's matches in the group stage.

On Tuesday, La Albiceleste picked up the win they needed to progress to the knockout phase. Marcos Rojo volleyed home a late winner after Victor Moses' penalty cancelled out Lionel Messi's opener.

Argentina will play France at the Kazan Arena in the next round on Saturday.

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