Soccer legend Diego Maradona reportedly was taken to a hospital Tuesday night after experiencing physical difficulty in the aftermath of Argentina’s dramatic World Cup escape in St. Petersburg. The former World Cup winner was in an executive box as Marcus Rojo’s late winner sealed a 2-1 triumph that rescued Argentina from an early exit from the tournament.
Minutes after the final whistle, Maradona needed help leaving his suite, appearing to stumble along while being assisted by associates, revealed on images posted to social media. Soon after, according to Diego Cora of ESPN Deportes, medical staff were summoned as Maradona sat slumped in a chair steps from where he had watched the game, before the decision was made to take him to a local facility. “Maradona had to be cared for by doctors and was taken to hospital,” Cora wrote on Twitter.
Several online videos and photographs of Maradona, taken before and during the game, appeared to show him in a heightened state. Television cameras even showed him firing off a double middle-fingered salute at an unknown target in the moments that followed Rojo’s goal.
ESPN Brazil also reported that Maradona had been taken to hospital. London’s Independent newspaper, citing an unnamed “Argentina source,” reported Maradona had been “stabilized.” Maradona is at the tournament as a FIFA ambassador and has attended every game for Argentina, the country that he led to World Cup glory in 1986, helped by the infamous Hand of God goal in the quarterfinal against England.