Maradona back on respirator

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The Independent Football

Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to World Cup success in 1986, was back on an artificial respirator yesterday as his treatment for heart and lung problems continued to make slow progress.

Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to World Cup success in 1986, was back on an artificial respirator yesterday as his treatment for heart and lung problems continued to make slow progress.

Maradona has been in intensive care for nearly a week and had a breathing tube removed some days ago. Putting it back did not mark any "worsening" of his health, according to a daily medical statement from his hospital in Buenos Aires. It was simply designed to assist him with his breathing. The 43-year-old former player remains in "guarded condition", the statement said, adding his recovery would be "slow and laborious".

Doctors are treating the troubled Argentinian idol with drugs for a heart inflammation and antibiotics for a lung infection. It was rumoured when he was admitted to hospital that Maradona, who has a history of cocaine use, had taken a drug overdose, but that was vehemently denied by doctors treating him.

The Football Association have told the referee Graham Poll that he will face no disciplinary sanctions over his "diver" allegations against Manchester United's England full-back Gary Neville. Poll's comments annoyed Neville who said on Tuesday that he was now a marked man. "Graham Poll didn't upset me but once one referee has said something, the others will take note," said the England full-back after his side's 2-0 win over Charlton in which he was yellow-carded by Steve Dunn.

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