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Placenta doctor goes to ground after work on Arsenal star Robin van Persie

20 Nov 2009 12:15:03

Placenta doctor goes to ground after work on Arsenal star Robin van Persie

The woman who uses placenta to treat Premier League footballers is to be investigated by Belgrade health officials. Alerted to the existence of forty-something housewife Mariana Kovacevic by the furore surrounding hertreatment of Arsenal's Robin van Persie as well as four Liverpoolplayers this week alone, two investigators from Serbia's healthauthority yesterday visited the tiny clinic to speak to the controversial therapist. Under Serbian law, every business has to be registered andthey claimed to have no record of Kovacevic's clinic, which has nonameplate outside and remained padlocked to the outside worldthroughout the day. Drawing a blank: Serbian officials find the unmarked door to Mariana Kovacevic's Belgrade clinic padlocked Unable to gain access, the health officials insisted they will return, next time in the presence of police officers, as they strive to ascertain the nature of her business. If she is found to be working without the required authority, Kovacevic's clinic will be shut down until she has completed the requisite paperwork, a process which, because of the country's slow-moving bureaucracy, could take more than two months. That is if they find her. There was subterfuge and clandestine comings and goings aplenty on Wednesday evening when within five minutes of each other Arsenal's Van Persie left in one direction, while Liverpool pair Glen Johnson and Fabio Aurelio arrived from the other. By last night it appeared that Kovacevic may have already moved her placenta supplies and massage table elsewhere - possibly in response to the spotlight of media interest trained on her. By mid-afternoon yesterday, Van Persie had left his Belgrade hotel in the same blacked-out Audi in which he was driven to receive treatment on his damaged ankle ligaments 24 hours earlier. He did not arrive at the tiny first-floor clinic by a stairwell which sits in an austere development of shops, offices and apartments in the area known as New Belgrade. Another case for treatment: Glen Johnson (left) saw the Belgrade healer, who has been described as looking like Morticia from the Addams Family He did not go to the airport - his hotel is booked until Monday - and his lack of mobility would suggest that sightseeing and shopping were not on his agenda. Moving premises would be nothing new for European football's latest medical sensation. Kovacevic, who has not been seen since Van Persie alerted the world at large to the existence of her controversial methods and alleged miracle cures at the weekend, has had five or six different addresses across the Serb capital in the past three years. A Partizan Belgrade basketball player, whom she has treated in that period, revealed she is always changing her phone numbers, too. The mother of three, whose second husband is believed to run a betting shop, is said to cut an extraordinary figure. She 'dresses crazily' according to the owner of the hairdressing salon at the foot of the stairwell. With long black hair, thick black eye make-up and thigh-length boots, 'she always looks like she is going out for the night,' the proprietor added. Another bar owner, who has known her since she moved to the premises a year ago, said: 'She is an extrovert, but nice. She always wears big lipstick. She looks like Morticia from the Addams Family.' For a woman with such a startling appearance, Kovacevic allows herself to be seen in public very rarely. Staff at the nearby Cafe Rim deliver coffee to her clinic and return to collect empty cups, while she also keeps unorthodox business hours. She did not finish her treatment of Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera until 3am on Wednesday morning, while Johnson and Aurelio did not leave until after midnight that evening. Reservations: Inter Milan's coach Jose Mourinho While her Premier League patients seem satisfied, her methods have raised suspicions. A doctor practising in the same complex, who declined to be named, offered an opinion which will underscore the Belgrade authorities' determination to gain entry to the back-street clinic. He said: 'I use placenta in my treatment of muscle injuries, too. But I don't heal them in seven days and I don't promise my patients such quick recovery times. It is impossible. You have to ask what else this woman is doing to get them to recover so quickly?' Clearly, Inter Milan and Jose Mourinho have their reservations, preventing their star Serbia midfielder Dejan Stankovic visiting her with an injury last season. While Kovacevic's reputation has been spread by Serb footballers scattered across the European leagues - attracting offers from Real Madrid and Manchester City to divulge her secrets to them - she has become an almost mythical figure in her home city. Partizan Belgrade doctor Sead Malicevic insisted his club's players are only allowed to be treated by officially registered physios. He said: 'I have heard of her but I don't know anything about her. I would like to and I would like to understand her methods.' Subsequently informed that many of the Partizan players have been spotted entering Kovacevic's clinic after nightfall, he reacted cryptically: 'Why should Liverpool and Arsenal benefit from them, but not Red Star Belgrade or Partizan?'  Tottenham's rearranged clash with Wigan causes supporters' uproar'I almost played for England': Arsenal star came close to joining Three LionsSmiles better for injured Van Persie after Serbian housewife treatmentFive follow Van Persie: Man City and Anfield stars fly out for placenta 'cure'  Explore more:People:Glen Johnson, Fabio Aurelio, Albert Riera, Jose Mourinho, Robin van PersiePlaces:Liverpool


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