Diego Maradona is one of the greatest players to have ever played football. Some say he’s the greatest.
That was on the pitch.
Off the pitch, there was plenty going on in Maradona’s life.
And the new documentary, ‘Diego Maradona’, reveals just how out of control the Argentine really was.
At his peak, Maradona carried the weight of Naples and Argentina on his shoulders.
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There were 75,000 fans at the Sao Paolo as Maradona signed for Napoli from Barcelona in 1984.
Napoli had never been Italian champions but with Maradona’s magic, they won two titles and a UEFA Cup in the following years. Meanwhile, he led Argentina to two World Cup finals, winning once in 1986.
He was the best in the world.
However, at the time, the genius was addicted to cocaine.
The infamous Naples mafia, the Camorra, used Maradona as a business front and filled him full of drugs.
In fact, Maradona’s drug addiction was so bad that the club allowed him the following weekly routine:
Sunday: Serie A match.
Sunday night to Wednesday morning: continuous cocaine binge.
Wednesday morning to Saturday evening: “cleanse”, and sweat it all out.
Sunday: Serie A match.
“Probably someone else peed for him,” says club president Corrado Ferlaino when asked how he continued to pass drug tests.
And that’s not mentioning all the prostitutes he would turn to.
At the age of 27, Maradona could still perform at a world-class level at weekends and was still loved by everyone.
But his career in Italy fell apart after the 1990 World Cup.
He scored one of Argentina’s penalties that knocked out hosts Italy in the semi-final and he was vilified.
Called “the most hated man in Italy” his superstar status vanished overnight and the authorities turned against him.
His phones were tapped, allowing the police to catch him ordering drugs and prostitutes. It led to a suspended jail sentence and, when traces of cocaine were found in his urine, a 15-month ban from football.
“When I arrived I was welcomed by 85,000, when I left I was all alone,” Maradona said.
His career was effectively over.
Four years later, he lasted just two matches at the 1994 World Cup before being sent home for failing another drugs test.
It does make you wonder just how good he could have been if he wasn’t addicted to Class A drugs.