Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Maradona interviews Castro for his TV show

Joining his friend Fidel Castro on Cuban television, Argentine soccer hero Diego Maradona said Thursday he had interviewed the communist leader for his own highly popular program.

Maradona said the interview would air Monday on his television show "La Noche del 10" _ Spanish for "The Night of 10" _ referring to the renowned player's No. 10 soccer jersey.

Maradona _ looking much slimmer and younger than he did on previous stays in Cuba after having stomach stapling surgery in Colombia _ said interviewing Castro was his dream since before signing with Argentina's Canal 13 to do the show.

He said he considered the Cuban president "the greatest of all who decide things in the world."

Castro, dressed in his typical olive green uniform, used his appearance on Cuban television Thursday night to expound on a variety of subjects, from regional politics to Hurricane Wilma's assault on the Caribbean island this week.

The two men have known each other for more than a decade, and Maradona in recent years has received treatment for drug addiction during several lengthy stays in Cuba. He bears a tattoo of Castro's face on one leg, and both say they are friends and admirers of one another.

"La Noche del 10," launched in August, marks Maradona's return to the limelight since he retired from soccer in 1997 amid cocaine addiction and other grave health problems.

Maradona, 45, has been jetting around the world, making appearances as a broadcast commentator at European soccer matches and taking part in celebrity charity events.

Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title and 1990 final. In 2000, FIFA chose him and Pele as the greatest players in soccer history, AP reported. V.A.