Soccer legend Diego Maradona is in critical condition in a hospital in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, suffering from heart and respiratory complications.

Close family and former team-mates are keeping a vigil at the city's SUIZO ARGENTINA CLINIC for the 43-year-old, who is unable to breath without a ventilator.

But doctors say Maradona - who was rushed to hospital on Sunday (18APR04), after watching his former team BOCA JUNIORS play - had started to improve by last night (19APR04).

Medics revealed in a statement his "progress has been satisfactory until now" and his arterial pressure was normalising.

Maradona's family doctor ALFREDO CAHE has attempted to play down claims the star, who has a history of drug abuse, overdosed on cocaine.

Cahe told reporters, the star - who was hospitalised in 2000 suffering hypertension and an irregular heartbeat - "has a lung infection because of a chill. He is quite stable and (his progress) is relatively good.

"There was (a risk) and there still is. It is not related to an overdose. Lately, Maradona was not consuming cocaine."

Widely regarded the World's greatest footballer, Maradona led Argentina to victory in the 1986 WORLD CUP in Mexico.

But his talent appeared wasted when, in 1991 he failed a drug test for cocaine. He tested positive again during the 1994 World Cup in America.

20/04/2004 02:23