FOOTBALL legend Diego Maradona has been forced to deny he is dying in an extraordinary video address to fans after his daughter Giannini hinted he was being “killed from inside” with sedatives.

The former Barcelona and Naples star has also told his growing brood of children he will leave them nothing after his death because he will donate his fortune to charity.

In a video filmed from what appeared to be his home in Argentina, the 59-year-old, who has battled drink and drug addictions, as well as weight problems, said: “I want to tell you that I’m not dying at all, that I sleep peacefully because I’m working.”

Responding to new fears about his health, which Giannini sparked last week by appearing to ask fans to “pray for him” and claiming he was being sedated with pills like a “caged lion”, he added: “I don’t know what she meant to say or what she had interpreted.

“What I do know is that, as you get older, people worry more about what you’re going to leave than what you’re doing. I tell you all I’m not going to leave anything, that I am going to donate it.” I’m not going to give away everything I earned by running during my life, I’m going to donate it.”

Looking as if he was making a conscious effort to give off an appearance of calm but seeming to slur his words at times, Maradona, who manages Gimnasia, added with a smile: “I am very healthy. Very healthy. Thank you.”

Giannina Maradona, one of his two grown-up daughters by former wife Claudia Villafane, did not name the person she was referring to in her social media messages last week.

But her cryptic messages, posted in the wake of Maradona’s 59th birthday last Wednesday, left most observers in little doubt she was pointing the finger at her father.

She said on Instagram: “He’s not dying because his body decides but they are killing him inside without him realising it.

“I don’t believe in the benchmark NORMAL, but that is a long way from the reality he deserves. Pray for him, please.”

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She added in a second post: “Do you remember a zoo where you could take pictures with a gigantic lion? You could go into its cage and for a bit more ‘cuddle’ it. They had it pilled-up, otherwise it would have been impossible to tame the wild animal. Any resemblance to reality is a pure coincidence.”

And in a third post, written over a mural based on a photo of her father during his footballing heyday leading her by the hand as a little girl which she first posted on his birthday, she added: “Give me your hand like this again, so I can lead you now.”

In June the 1986 World Cup winner was forced to deny he had Alzheimer’s disease.

He posted a video on his Instagram page insisting he was “not dying” from the irreversible brain disorder and branding the people behind the rumours: “Sons of they know who.”

Maradona, speaking out after Argentinian newspaper Cronica published a report pointing to him suffering “neurological problems” and the “start of Alzheimer’s”, raged: “They’re lying, they’re lying. 

“They speak of Alzheimer’s and they don’t know what it means.

“The word Alzheimer’s is an awful word. People with Alzheimer’s die. 

“I’m not dying. These sons of they know what throw it out there to create confusion. I don’t do confusion.”

His lawyer Matias Morla admitted at the time Maradona had stepped down as manager of Mexican side Dorados to focus on his health and undergo shoulder and knee surgery, but added: “In the light of reports Diego Maradona is suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s, I wish to state that none of the medical tests he has undergone show anything of the sort.”

Maradona subsequently underwent knee surgery at a private Buenos Aires clinic and boasted afterwards: “Today I walked again like I did when I was 15.”
The football great was also at the centre of concerns about his health last year after having to be helped away from his VIP box and assisted by medical staff when Argentina narrowly avoided an early World Cup exit in Russia with a late goal against Nigeria.

Two Spanish-language recordings which went viral – recorded by the same man and released shortly after the match – claimed he had suffered a fatal heart attack.

One said an adrenaline injection to his heart had failed to save him and the Argentinian squad were yet to be told he had passed away in hospital.

A second 42-second recording, a WhatsApp message sent to a man called Mati by someone passing himself off as an Argentinian sports journalist based in Russia, added: “They are only going to be announcing the news tomorrow. It’s a family decision.”

Maradona reacted by offering a four-figure reward to identify the person who tried to fool the world into believing he was dead.

He promised more than £8,000 through his lawyer to anyone who could help him unmask the man responsible for killing him off and forcing him to put out a statement confirming he was alive but had overdone it on the white wine.

Maradona is now managing Gimnasia y Esgrima in the Argentinian city of La Plata.

Last week he enjoyed another laugh at the expense of England fans by claiming he would have scored his cheat 1986 World Cup quarter-final ‘Hand of God’ goal with his right if VAR had existed.

Asked by a radio interviewer if he thought his controversial goal against England would have been ruled out if VAR had been around 33 years ago, he said: “I wish we could turn back the clocks.

“I promise the English that I wouldn’t score the goal with my left hand, I’d do it with my right.”

Giannina joked earlier this year after the names of three children said to be Maradona’s in Cuba were made public: “Just three more needed for the team of 11. You can do it!!!”

A 23-year-old brunette called Magali subsequently emerged as the latest possible member of Maradona’s ever-growing brood, which includes two grown-up children born from extra-marital affairs and a six-year-old boy called Diego Fernando by former girlfriend Veronica Ojeda.

Popular Argentinian TV programme Intrusos said she had a young daughter which would make the former Naples and Barcelona star a grandfather again if he is confirmed as her dad.

She reportedly launched legal proceedings in April to try to prove her blood link.