Maradona says he no longer drinks

May 8, 2007

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Diego Maradona says he no longer drinks or uses drugs, and plans to return to playing small-scale exhibition soccer games.

"For my two daughters, I'm going to continue to the end," the 46-year-old Argentine soccer great said. "I'm alive and I want to keep living."

Maradona was noticeably thinner when he appeared early Tuesday on a popular TV show. He was released Sunday after spending 16 days in several local clinics to treat what doctors said was excessive alcohol consumption that led to a form of hepatitis.

Maradona has battled obesity and cocaine addiction since his 1997 retirement and has had eight serious hospitalizations in the decade since.

"I no longer drink alcohol and it's been 2½ years since I've done drugs," he said. "I just drink juices."

He said he planned to return to playing "showbol," seven-a-side, small-field exhibition soccer, although he did not say when.

Maradona remains a beloved figure in Argentina. He captained the national team to the 1986 World Cup title and is considered among the greatest players in soccer history.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press