Diego Maradona: drugs, fights, and the “food of God”
During his career, 55-year-old Diego Maradona played 91 matches in the national team of Argentina and scored 34 goals.
Maradona about football and drugs
“My only drug has always been a soccer ball. I will repeat it until these hypocrites understand: cocaine does not help playing football, cocaine only harms it, and cocaine kills!” “I had an idea of what cocaine is, still I wouldn’t have it if cocaine had been my companion for fifteen years?! Would I have taken cocaine before a match? Do not make me laugh.” The story repeated itself in 1994 at the World Championships in the United States, when the result of his doping tests was again positive. According to some information, five prohibited substances were found in the football player’s blood at once. The athlete was convicted of using ephedrine, which also cost him a suspension. In 1997, against the backdrop of a multitude of doping scandals, Maradona stopped playing, although he did not officially leave big football.
From January 2000, after Maradona, after taking a large dose of cocaine, had heart problems, he changed several clinics. The course of rehabilitation and treatment of drug dependence, he took in Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba. The press reacted to the problems of the football superstar with sympathy. On the field, Maradona could beat anyone, in his life he is not yet able to cope with a murderous burden of drugs. In addition to the doping scandals, Maradona was involved in several high-profile processes. In 1998, the football player was found guilty of shooting at journalists, besieging his country house, with a blowgun. He received two years and ten months conditional. The court case lasted more than four years. In January 2001, a scandalous celebrity was detained in Rome – Maradona owed the Italian treasury about € 40 million in taxes during the period when he played in Napoli. The burden has lasted for several decades. Five years later, Maradona broke a glass on the head of the beauty queen of Polynesia when she argued with his daughter. The woman put eight stitches. The incident was resolved in court.
After entering the well-deserved rest, his addiction to drugs became even more aggravated. It has become a trick of the heart – he was hospitalized twice: in 2000 and 2004. During this period Maradona recovered greatly and weighed 121 kg. In 2005, he even had a stomach operation, after which he lost 50 kg. In 2008, Maradona was offered the post of coach of the Argentina national team, where he stayed until 2010. Since 2011, he coached the Arab team “Al-Wasl”. In 2017, he headed the Al Fujairah Club in the UAE, but left the post – did not justify trust. In 2018, Diego Armando Maradona made an offer to his beloved Rosio Oliva. The 1986 World Cup was the first in my life that I watched from and to from what was broadcast on television. These are my first conscious football impressions of an event called the World Cup. Still, in 1982, which I, in general, also more or less remember, I was only 11. Maradona in Mexico played incredibly. He could not help but admire an adorable football teenager like me. After many years, remembering that championship and that match, I cannot say that the first thing that comes to mind is injustice, unfair play, and similar associations. The World Cup in Mexico will forever remain for me a single player tournament, which organized fireworks in every match in which he entered the field.
Perhaps something similar from the point of view of the outstanding game of one single player I later saw in the performance of only Roberto Baggio at the World Championships in the United States. No, not Zidane in 1998, France had a very strong team there. Argentina in 1986, too, had a whole number of brilliant performers, but against this background Maradona was taller than everyone else, and as it turned out, even higher than the goalkeeper British Shilton. The participant of the world championships of 1966 and 1974, the Argentinian Roberto Perfumo, spoke of the match with England as follows: “The main task at the World Cup 86 was the victory over England, the victory in the World Cup itself was secondary. Our goal was to beat England.” Argentines saw the match with England as an opportunity to get even for the defeat in the 1982 Falklands War. Whatever may be said about the fact that sports and football should be out of politics, history (and the world championships as well) knows many examples when everything was quite the opposite. Political overtones, a desire to get even for events that had nothing to do with sport – that was the background for the preparation for the quarterfinals of the England-Argentina Mexican World Cup.