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I'm just fine, says Maradona

BUENOS AIRES, DEC. 6. Smiling and joking, Diego Maradona said he was glad to be home after 2 1/2 months in a Cuban drug rehab centre and assured his supporters he was recovering from his cocaine addiction.

``Don't worry, I'm just fine,'' he said during a television interview, his first public comments since arriving in Argentina over the weekend to visit his family for the Christmas holiday.

It is the first trip home for the 44-year-old soccer great since he left for Cuba in late September to resume treatment for drug abuse.

``I was anxious to get back because I've been in almost near seclusion (in Cuba),'' he said.

Looking slightly thinner, Maradona said he was in ``good'' health, adding he was hoping to be released soon from his drug treatment program in Havana.

Maradona has been undergoing rehab after a relapse confined him to a Buenos Aires psychiatric hospital earlier this year and sparked unsuccessful attempts by his family to keep him there.

Maradona has been hospitalised repeatedly over the last four years, most recently in April when doctors said he was suffering from a weakened heart and severe breathing problems brought on by his drug usage.

He eventually returned to Cuba, where in recent years he has sought treatment, citing the need for greater privacy.

Maradona reportedly travelled home against the advice of his doctors, but he said he would likely remain in Buenos Aires through the New Year.

``I'm not leaving before the holidays because I think I deserve this, along with my family and my daughters,'' he said. — AP

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