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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK
Maradona seeks presidential help
Diego Maradona leaves the presidential palace in Buenos Aires
Maradona cannot leave the country without a judge's authorisation
Football legend Diego Maradona has met Argentine President Nestor Kirchner to discuss his fight against drug addiction.

Maradona would like to undergo treatment at a Swiss clinic, but cannot leave the country due to a court order.

His family have taken out an injunction which forces him to undergo psychiatric care in Buenos Aires.

Maradona was taken to hospital with heart and lung problems earlier this year and nearly died.

Shortly afterwards he was readmitted when his condition deteriorated.

The 43-year-old former player is currently being treated at a specialist psychiatric clinic against his will, but is reportedly desperate to leave for Cuba, where he has already undergone a rehabilitation programme, or Switzerland.

'Cordial' meeting

His personal doctor, Antonio Cahe, who helped him arrange a meeting with the president, earlier this week said Maradona wanted to talk to Mr Kirchner because he claimed that "people have no idea how I am doing. I am neither crazy nor incompetent".

Mr Cahe suggested he would ask the president to help him leave the country.

But reports on Thursday said his judicial problem had not been touched on during the meeting at the Casa Rosada, the pink presidential palace in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.

The 15-minute meeting with Mr Kirchner was described as "cordial" and "good-humoured".

In recent weeks there has been speculation that Maradona might be considering seeking treatment at a clinic in a lakeside village in southern Switzerland, San Nazzaro.

The world football governing body, FIFA, on Thursday said it would be ready to support his efforts to overcome his drug addiction.

"This type of step is part of our policy of corporate social responsibility for the organisation," a FIFA spokesman at the headquarters in Zurich said.

The psychiatric clinic in San Nazzaro, a few miles from the border to Italy, claims that negotiations on Maradona's future therapy are "almost concluded".

"We would be very honoured if he chooses our clinic, which is ready to welcome him and give him all the treatment and psychological help possible," said Michele Mattia, a doctor at the Swiss clinic.

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