Diego Maradona : How addiction lead El Diez into scandal & the Italian Mafia (1991)
How Addiction lead El Diez into scandal & the Italian Mafia (1991)
Maradona’s legacy is outright bohemian; from scoring the iconic “hand of God” goal in the 86’ World Cup with his fist, to leading Argentina & S.S.C Napoli to glory in his prime, Diego is widely debated to be one of greatest players of all time amongst the likes of Pelé, Ronaldo & Messi. Throughout his meteoric rise to stardom though, the famous #10 was continually plagued by a crippling drug and alcohol addiction.
Maradona was born and raised in the slums of Buenos Aires in Argentina, 1 of 6 children in a dirt-poor family. His rags-to-riches-esque story would in due time act as his ultimate undoing, as Diego would find it difficult to adapt to wealth and the spotlight so swiftly. At Barcelona F.C, Diego began using cocaine and trouble soon followed; his last game for the club ended in a fabled brawl that saw him knock an opposing player unconscious with a flying knee. At the height of his prime, Napoli were the only team willing to take on the rugged star. The two (Napoli & Diego) were a perfect match, as gang-infested Napoli was one of the roughest places in Europe during his transfer in 1984. Maradona would famously go on to lead Napoli to titles & Argentina to a World Cup while living in Naples until the early 90s. As his legend in the country grew exponentially, El Diez had troubles coping with the ongoing spotlight and turned to the Neapolitan mafia for protection and pleasures. One night in January 1991, Maradona was looking to discreetly order 2 prostitutes through his mafia connection at 3:40am; oblivious to the fact the call was being tapped by authorities. Federal charges, as well as a positive drug test months later, yielded a 15-month ban for the eccentric star. He fled Italy shortly after and was arrested in tears in Argentina.
Diego made a brief return to top-football for the 1994 World Cup, where he would score a goal in the group stage and celebrate excessively in the camera. This drew suspicion that eventually got him drug tested and banned indefinitely.