Football

Inside the drug life of Diego Maradona that ruined his career

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona. Photo/talkSPORT
  • Diego Maradona is and will always be one of the greatest footballers the world ever had
  • Diego Maradona’s long history of substance misuse, which spans more than three decades
  • Drug abuse began in 1982 while playing for Barcelona and worsened after he moved to Napoli, where he was connected to the mafia in 1984

Diego Maradona is and will always be one of the greatest footballers the world ever had.  He is a special gift Argentina has ever had but his history with drugs is another story.

When it comes to headline-grabbing Maradona never failed. During the 2018 world cup, he sent the world into a frenzy. As Argentina overcame Nigeria in the World Cup, Maradona had to be escorted out of the stadium by paramedics, who were called to check on him.

One of the greatest footballers of all time, he is also well-known for his battles with drug abuse during his career.

Here’s a look back at Diego Maradona’s long history of substance misuse, which spans more than three decades.

IS DIEGO MARADONA THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME?

Diego Maradona

Former Argentina head coach Diego Maradona gestures during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo/AP /Martin Meissner

In the mid-1980s, Maradona began doing cocaine, developing an addiction to both that and alcohol that lasted until 2004, when he died of a heart attack.

At the height of his career, which lasted from 1976 to 1997, the Argentine struggled with the issue. He led Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986 and won Serie A with Napoli in 1987 and 1990.

Drug abuse began in 1982 while playing for Barcelona and worsened after he moved to Napoli, where he was connected to the mafia in 1984.

At the time, he admitted to Argentina’s Tyc Sports that his illness had given his competitors a significant edge. In the absence of drug use, what might have happened to his career?

WHY DID NAPOLI BAN DIEGO MARADONA?

When Napoli banned Maradona for 15 months for testing positive for cocaine in April 1991–June 1992, it was the first major punishment for his drug use.

At the end of the same year, he was caught in Buenos Aires and sentenced to 14 months with credit for time served for possessing half a kilo of cocaine. His exile from football prompted him to flee Italy and never return. In 2005, Italian authorities ordered him to pay £32 million in unpaid taxes, which he has refused to do because he claims he owed ‘nothing to anyone’.

He returned to the Argentina World Cup team in 1995, scoring a brilliant goal against Greece in the group stage, which led to a wild celebration into the camera lens, which was captured on film.

After testing positive for five different forms of ephedrine, a banned substance, his tournament was over before it had even begun.

DID FIFA EVER SUSPEND DIEGO MARADONA?

Before FIFA could intervene, the Argentine FA made the decision, but FIFA went on to suspend Maradona for 15 months, effectively ending his international playing days.

Speaking to Channel 13, after the ban, Maradonaa said his career as a soccer player was Maradona said h spirit was fully crushed’.

Then, Argentina’s national team’s Newell’s Old Boys welcomed Maradona back to the field in 1993, and he rejoined Boca Juniors in 1995.

After failing three drug tests in six years in 1997, he was forced to retire from football.

Mauricio Macri, the president of Boca Juniors, says he was told that cocaine was found in a urine sample, but the club’s official explanation was that “prohibited substances” were to blame.

Even before this ultimate ban, Maradona addressed a drugs charity in 1996 he said drugs were around and he did not want kids to take them.

Maradona explained that he had two daughters, which is why he decided to express this, as a father’s duty. It was then that he publicly confessed to being addicted to narcotics.

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona. Photo/Sky Sports

WAS DIEGO MARADONA INVOLVED IN A SHOOTING INCIDENT?

A suspended sentence of two years and ten months was handed down in June 1998 for the shooting of journalists with an air rifle during the 1994 World Cup. As expected, Maradona’s health has taken a serious hit as a result of his long-term drug use.

A heart attack in 2004, an overdose in 2000, and gastric bypass surgery in 2005 forced him to be hospitalised for hepatitis in 2007.

However, Maradona has long been thought to have stopped taking drugs, telling Tuttonapoli in 2017 that he had stopped taking drugs for 13 years.

However, he was captured on tape thereafter taking booze after Argentina beat Nigeria in the 2018 world cup. It was evident that he still had a drugs problem.

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