Barcelona and Argentina captain Lionel Messi has sent fellow countryman Diego Maradona “a big hug from the heart” after the Albiceleste legend and current Gymnasia y Esgrima coach had to undergo surgery for a blood clot in his brain.

At first, it had been suspected that the 60-year-old, who just recently celebrated his birthday, had been suffering from fatigue due to dehydration.

Indeed, his last public appearance before being admitted had caused public concern, with the South American icon having looked extremely weak and needing assistance to walk while receiving a commemorative plaque ahead of Gymnasia’s clash with Patronato.

It soon became apparent after a series of tests that Maradona had a subdural haematoma, an issue that has since been operated on successfully, according to his personal doctor.

Tributes and well wishes have been pouring in since the news of Maradona’s ill health broke, and Messi has added his name to the list of those hoping to see the former Argentina boss back on his feet as soon as possible.

“Diego, all the strength in the world,” Messi wrote on Instagram. “My family and I want to see you healthy again as soon as possible. A big hug from the heart!”

Regarding the surgery itself, Maradona’s physician, Dr Leopoldo Luque, relayed that the procedure had gone well and his patient was now in recovery.

“I was able to evacuate the haematoma successfully and Diego tolerated the surgery very well,” Luque said. “Diego is under control, he has a small drain to remove fluid that we are planning to take out tomorrow.

“His stay at the hospital will depend on his recovery but the start of it has been great. The way he reacted after the surgery is promising.”

Maradona’s personal lawyer also chipped in, adding: “I’ve just talked with the clinic authorities. Diego is okay and continues his recovery. Detecting the haematoma on time was decisive and it happened because of the medical team’s professionalism and the studies they decided to conduct.

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