Diego heads to Europe
Under-fire Argentina coach Diego Maradona has travelled to Europe, thereby avoiding a crucial meeting on the poor performances of the national side, his personal doctor said on Monday.
"He left yesterday (Sunday) for a spa in Italy," Alfredo Cahen told AFP.
"In order to respect his privacy, I cannot reveal the name of the town."
Reports from other media sources claimed that Maradona was actually in Spain.
Maradona, 48, has seen two-time world champions Argentina slip to fifth in the South American qualifying standings for the 2010 World Cup, a place below the automatic qualification slots, after four defeats in their last five games.
His flight to Europe means the former hero of the national side will avoid a meeting scheduled to take place here on Monday involving Argentina general manager Carlos Bilardo and Julio Grondona, president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) and vice-president of world governing body FIFA.
According to Argentine press reports, Grondona intended to ask Maradona to delegate more responsibility to Bilardo, who was the coach of Argentina in 1986 when Maradona captained the side to World Cup glory in Mexico.
Cahen underlined that Maradona's trip to Europe "was planned a month ago to give him some exercise and a bit of rest for a week".
"He's not being hospitalised," Cahen added. "He did some tests 10 or 12 days ago and the results were fine."
Argentine daily La Nacion reported that Maradona had checked into a spa that he knows well in Merano, north-eastern Italy.
The sojourn had reportedly been booked in advance in expectation of positive results in Argentina's last few matches.
Bilardo rallied to Maradona's defence on Friday, declaring that only the arrival of "Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary" could justify his sacking.
Argentina host already-eliminated Peru on October 10 before travelling to neighbours Uruguay, who trail the 'Albiceleste' by a single point, four days later.