Diego Maradona rushed to hospital after nearly collapsing following Argentina’s dramatic win over Nigeria in World Cup
DIEGO MARADONA collapsed after a meltdown at Argentina’s World Cup clash with Nigeria and fans feared he’d had a heart attack.
The 57-year-old icon had gone crazy as he saw his beloved Argentina rescue their place in the tournament with a dramatic winner four minutes from time.
Maradona, who has battled cocaine addiction and wild mood swings, was caught on TV lunging forwards from his executive box seat and giving opposing fans below “the finger” with both hands.
But moments after his nation’s thrilling 2-1 win over Nigeria, he was seen hunched over and had to be held up by a pal as he was led to the executive suite area.
Anxious medical staff at St Petersburg’s 64,000-seat Zenit Arena were seen checking his pulse and attempting to calm him soon after.
Maradona, famed for his cheating “Hand of God” goal in a World Cup win over England in 1986, was understood to have been taken to hospital in the city for precautionary checks.
A preliminary diagnosis later confirmed he had high blood pressure and a heart murmur, according to reports.
Sources later suggested he recovered and boarded a private jet to fly to Moscow last night.
Pictures of him looking well and smiling were posted to Twitter.
Fans had videoed him leaning against a barrier appearing unsteady on his feet at the match.
His woozy appearance sparked one social media joker to comment: “He’s just tired after visiting many museums in St Petersburg.”
He then appeared to close his eyes and doze off during sections of the game before sparking into life as Argentina fought their way back into the game.
And he erupted in crazy celebrations as Marcos Rojo fired home the winner after Nigeria’s Victor Moses cancelled out a brilliant Lionel Messi opener in the Group D decider.
Maradona was once regarded as the world’s greatest player and starred in four World Cups. But he had to leave the 1994 tournament in the US in disgrace after failing a drugs test and has battled addiction and obesity since hanging up his boots.
After the hand gesture, BBC presenter Gary Lineker branded Maradona a “laughing stock”.
Then BBC sports presenter Dan Walker wrote on Twitter: “And that’s why you don’t show Maradona no matter how good he was in his prime.”
Earlier in the tournament, Maradona was accused of making a racist gesture towards South Korea fans by ITV presenter Jacqui Oatley.