Fidel Castro meets football great Maradona

Fidel Castro, the retired leader of the Cuban Revolution, met with Argentine football great Diego Maradona on Saturday, the official media said Monday.

"The exchange between the two old friends was fruitful," the official Cuban Granma daily reported, describing the gathering as "brotherly" and "cheerful."

The newspaper also published photos taken by one of Castro's sons.

Castro, 86, turned over Cuba's presidency to his brother Raul in July 2006 after falling ill, and his public appearances since then have been rare.

Maradona arrived in Havana from Caracas where he lent his backing to acting President Nicolas Maduro, who was declared the winner of a snap election to replace the late Hugo Chavez. The results are being contested by the opposition.

Castro and Maradona, 52, have had close ties since the football star's first visit to Cuba in 1987. Maradona has also spent time in a Cuban hospital to treat a cocaine addiction and an array of health problems.