Diego Armando Maradona – the name itself conjures different feelings. Feelings of happiness and feelings of despair. A man who created magical moments on the football pitch to enthrall, to enlighten the lives of millions and then there were those self-destruction images off the pitch.
“Poor old Diego. For so many years we have told him repeatedly, ‘You’re a God’, ‘You are a star’, ‘You are our salvation’ that we forgot to tell him the most important thing: ‘You are a man, you are fallible’.” These words of Jorge Valdano, Maradona’s Argentina teammate in the 1986 World Cup, sums up a life extraordinary.
Diego Maradona mesmerised opposition, was a living legend, but was also CONTROVERSY’S OWN CHILD. From cocaine abuse to dealing with prostitutes to that mystical ‘Hand of God’ goal sums up the true maverick. Here’s a look at some of those events that Maradona himself.
Hand of God goal
In the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England, the Argentine superstar used his left hand to score his side’s goal. England players protested furiously, but the goal stood. Four minutes later Maradona again scored, the goal is possibly the best in World Cup history. After the game which was played in the backdrop of the England-Argentina war over the Falkland Islands in 1982, Maradona said God had helped his team gain revenge. He called it the ‘Hand of God’ goal and the legacy still lives after 34 years.
Substance and drug abuse became a part of Maradona’s life early on in his career. However, it was during his tenure with Napoli that Maradona’s cocaine addiction reached alarming proportions. So much so that he became a fugitive from the law. In 1991 he was handed a 15-month ban for testing positive, but that was not the end of his troubles. The world again went into a shock when he failed a drug test during the 1994 World Cup in the US and was sent home. That was the last time one saw Maradona on the World Cup pitch.
Out of control
During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Argentine legend was in the news once more. But those were all for wrong reasons. From showing the middle-finger with both hands to the spectators to passing out while watching a game, Maradona captured more attention than Argentine and Nigerian players on the pitch. He was also involved in a bitter feud with a TV journalist who alleged that Maradona had made racist remarks during a show.
Shooting at journalists
This act Maradona even repented after the incident took place in front of his house in Buenos Aires. Maradona said he shot at journalists because they had invaded his privacy. Four persons were injured and Maradona was handed a two-year 10 months prison sentence. He later regretted the incident and said he is ready to pay the entire treatment cost of the four injured.
Busted by Italian Police
In 1992, Maradona was charged by the Italian police for possession of cocaine. However they came on evidence by tapping Maradona’s phone. He was using his Mafia connections and ordering for two sex workers to be sent to his room. During the conversation he also said that he had ‘free cocaine’ in his possession for use. He also later offered the ‘white powder’ to the two sex workers who came to his room.
Criticising Lionel Messi
The incident happened during an even in Paris which both Pele and Maradona attended. The two were having a conversation and Pele asked Maradona. The Brazilian legend asked Maradona whether he knows Messi personally. Maradona’s unguarded response was picked up by a microphone. “He’s a really good person, but he has no personality,” Maradona said. “He lacks the character to be a leader.” The comment soon became viral but Maradona never retracted his statement.
Diego Armando Maradona was definitely CONTROVERSY’S OWN CHILD, but there will never be another like him. Adios Senor… REST IN PEACE