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Maradona back for treatment

HAVANA, SEPT. 21. Former soccer great Diego Maradona returned to Cuba on Monday to resume treatment for cocaine addiction after a relapse confined him to a psychiatric hospital in his native Argentine and sparked unsuccessful attempts by his family to keep him at home.

The 43-year-old soccer legend was greeted by dozens of journalists after arriving here on a commercial flight following a stopover in Panama on the trip from Buenos Aires. Dressed in blue slacks, a cotton shirt in pastel stripes and tennis shoes, Maradona declined to address reporters, greeting them only with a hasty "good night" before he smiled and left.

Argentine Ambassador Raul Taleb earlier told reporters that Maradona would spend his first night at Havana's Centre for Surgical Medical Investigations, a prestigious hospital known by its Spanish acronym as CIMEQ. There, he was to undergo a general medical checkup before starting drug treatment at another facility.

Maradona's return to Cuba capped a weeks-long drama in Argentina that played out in nationally broadcast TV interviews and court battles with his relatives over how and where to continue his treatment.

He even appealed last month to Argentine President Nestor Kirchner to help him leave the country. — AP

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