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Maradona in stitches after being attacked by his own dog

Argentina's World Cup coach Diego Maradona was bitten on his face by one of his pet dogs and needed plastic surgery to repair his upper lip, doctors and team officials announced yesterday.

Maradona was checked into Los Arcos clinic during the early hours and was scheduled to be released late last night after treatment. "He was evaluated by plastic surgeons and taken to an operating room where they did reconstructive surgery on his upper lip," the clinic said in a statement.

Maradona was hospitalized in the same clinic in 2007 with toxic hepatitis from drinking.

Witnesses said Maradona was bleeding close to his mouth when he arrived at the clinic with his girlfriend. "He's doing well. He's in good spirits. They'll let him out," national team spokesman Fernando Molina told reporters outside the clinic.

Maradona, 48, led Argentina to its second World Cup victory in 1986 and is worshipped in his homeland despite years of scandal involving drug addiction, overeating and alcoholism.

He retired from professional football in 1997 and almost died from cocaine-induced heart problems in 2000.

In 2008, despite concerns over his continued substance abuse, explosive conduct and lack of coaching experience, he was handed the job as coach of the national team.

Maradona made numerous changes to his squad as Argentina struggled to qualify for the World Cup finals, only securing their place in the last round of fixtures. Since then, Argentina have won a friendly in Germany and with their talisman Leo Messi in outstanding form they are considered among the the favourites in South Africa. Nigeria, Greece and South Korea will be Argentina's opponents in Group B.