Diego Maradona’s personal physician mounted an emotional defence of his treatment of the soccer legend after a police search of his home on Sunday

Leopoldo Luque broke down in tears as he insisted he had done everything possible to assist the retired footballer in his first interview since investigators launched their shock operation to try to establish whether Maradona had been the victim of medical negligence.

Tears rolled down his cheeks as he insisted in a hastily-arranged press conference at his home near Buenos Aires which lasted nearly 40 minutes a “friend” had died and Diego was his own worst enemy when it came to accepting help from professionals.

He said: “I was shocked when police turned up at my door. I’m going to co-operate fully.

“I know what I did and what I did was for Diego’s benefit until the last moment. I did the best I could.

“I feel terrible because a friend died.

Leopoldo Luque, the personal physician of Diego Maradona

“I don’t blame myself for anything. It’s very unfair what’s happening.

“I didn’t see Diego’s daughters a lot but the rest of his family, his siblings and his nephews adore me.

“Someone is trying to find a scapegoat here when I don’t see one anywhere.

“We all did the best we could with Diego.”

Maradona and Luque in Buenos Aires after his brain operation earlier this month

“You’ll need to ask his psychologists but I thought he looked very down. I’d seen him that way for a while.”

Insisting Diego had a problem with pills and alcohol, he added: “He punished himself in a way I wasn’t going to allow, not as a doctor but as a friend.

Diego Maradona dies age 60

“I don’t see good and bad people in all this. We all did what we could.

"But Diego was the most difficult one of them. You couldn’t do anything if Diego didn’t want it.

"He hated doctors and psychologists. With me it was different because I was honest with him. He was my friend.

“He should have gone to a centre of rehabilitation when he left hospital but he didn’t want to.

“If I’m responsible for anything when it comes to Diego, it was loving him and improving his life.”

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