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Best Listed as Stable After Liver Transplant

July 31, 2002|GRAHAME L. JONES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

George Best, one of international soccer's most illustrious players and notorious playboys, was listed in stable condition at a London hospital Tuesday night after undergoing a 10-hour liver-transplant operation.

The former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star, who was Europe's player of the year in 1968, was in the intensive care ward of Cromwell Hospital.

"The operation has proceeded satisfactorily and, after some initial worries, his condition has substantially improved," a hospital spokesman said of the 56-year-old Best.

Alcohol abuse had seriously damaged Best's health, and he was warned in March 2000, after collapsing because of severe liver damage, that one more drink could kill him.

At the time, he was given stomach implants intended to make him nauseated if he consumed any alcohol.

Best, now a television soccer analyst, spent 10 years with Manchester United after joining the club at 16, straight off the streets of his native Belfast, Northern Ireland.

His off-the-field exploits made him daily fodder for the English tabloids, which readily dubbed him "the fifth Beatle."

Brazil to Host Paraguay

Brazil's first match as the new world champion will be against Paraguay in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Aug. 21, the Brazilian soccer federation (CBF) announced.

The CBF added that Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will be in charge of the team, even though Scolari has yet to decide whether to remain its coach.

Athens 2004 First Look

Glenn "Mooch" Myernick, assistant coach on the U.S. World Cup team, will coach the U.S. under-23 national team on a four-game tour of England starting Thursday.

Myernick selected 20 players. The U.S. will play the reserve sides of four professional teams: Bolton Wanderers on Thursday, Huddersfield Town on Saturday, Crew Alexandria on Monday and Manchester United on Aug. 7.

The under-23 team is the one that will try to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The roster:

Goalkeepers: Doug Warren (Clemson) and Jason White (Princeton).

Defenders: Nelson Akwari (free agent, formerly UCLA), Ian Joy (Kidderminster, England), Ricky Lewis (Clemson), David Stokes (North Carolina), Scot Thompson (UCLA), Zach Whitbread (Liverpool, England), Chris Wingert (St. John's) and Alex Yi (free agent, formerly UCLA).

Midfielders: Kenny Arena (Virginia), Kyle Beckerman (Colorado Rapids, MLS), Brian Carroll (Wake Forest), Ned Grabavov (Indiana), Logan Pause (North Carolina) and Seth Trembley (Colorado, MLS).

Forwards: Edson Buddle (Columbus Crew, MLS), Alecko Eskandarian (Virginia), David Testo (North Carolina) and Jason Thompson (Eastern Illinois).

Olimpia President Quits

On the eve of today's championship game in the Copa Libertadores tournament, the president of one of the teams involved, Olimpia of Paraguay, quit while launching a scathing attack on the team's players.

Dominguez Dibb said in a radio interview in Asuncion, Paraguay, that Olimpia's players lacked on-field commitment and had no off-field discipline.

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