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Legendary Argentine footballer, Diego Armando Maradona dies at the age of 60 after battling heart attack



Popular Argentina footballer, Diego Armando Maradona has died, He decompensated at Tigre’s house where he was recovering from an operation after he suffered from heart attack.

Diego Armando Maradona, the best footballer of all time, died this Wednesday at the age of 60 in a house in the private neighborhood of San Andrés where he was recovering from a recent operation for a subdural hematoma.

Close to the DT of Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata, they confirmed that Maradona decompensated this noon and the nurse who accompanied him 24 hours a day and a doctor who was in the house at that time could not revive him.

The professionals quickly asked for assistance: several ambulances arrived at the home, but could not do anything.

The news generated a strong worldwide repercussion.

For many, even with controversies surrounding his figure and some of his actions, Diego Maradona is the greatest footballer of all time, the author of the best goal in the history of the World Cups, and considered by FIFA as “Player of the Century” with 53.6% of the votes in an election made on its official website.

His figure is so revered throughout the world that it even has a Maradonian Church, which celebrates “Christmas” every October 30, the day of his birth in 1960- and is considered a demigod in Naples, a club in which four were champion times (two Scudettos, an Italian Super Cup and a UEFA Cup), something that neither before nor after him did he achieve again. He was world champion with the Argentine national team in 1986, shining like no other player ever did, and a finalist in 1990, and youth world champion in 1979 and was also technical director of the Argentine team between November 2008 and July 2010, when he was eliminated by Germany at the World Cup in South Africa (4-0). He has the record of having been the top scorer five times in the official Argentine tournament.

She was born in the Lanús Polyclinic and her childhood was spent in a very poor home in Villa Fiorito, although her family was originally from Esquina, Corrientes (“over the years I understood why my mother’s belly hurt, she gave us everything that he had to eat us ”, he was able to recognize). He was the first boy and fifth child of the marriage between Diego Maradona and Dalma Salvadora Franco (“Don Diego” and “Doña Tota”). Later he had two other brothers, also footballers, Raúl (“Lalo”) and Hugo (“Turquito”). He began to play soccer in a pasture called “Las Siete Canchitas” and was a member of the “Estrella Roja” children’s team, along with “Goyo” Carrizo – who was said to be a crack of the same height but who broke down – who convinced Francisco Cornejo, a scout of future figures- to see him play. “Los Cebollitas” was a team created by Cornejo to play the 1973 and 1974 Evita National Games. This team was actually one of the lower ranks of Argentinos Juniors, where Maradona had gone to test himself in 1969 and won the tournament and the eighth division.


He remained with Cornejo until he was 14 years old, when Argentinos Juniors could sign them in the AFA. That team remained undefeated for 136 games and from a young age they delighted the fans in La Paternal because they played a little game in halftime at that time they were called “Fulvipibes” – and they even yelled “to stay, to stay” when it resumed game. His ability was such that he was summoned by the host “Pipo” Mancera for the popular TV program “Sábados Circulars” where he said something premonitory that all the documentaries repeat “my first dream is to be playing in First Division and the second is to be champion” .

On September 28, 1971, they conducted the first interview with him. “He is left-handed but knows how to use his right. Diego Caradona (sic), ten years old, won warm applause at halftime from Argentinos Juniors and Independiente, displaying a rare ability for the ‘little game’ with the instep and even with the chaff. With a T-shirt that is a bit baggy and the bangs that do not let him see, Dieguito seems to have escaped from any Buenos Aires wasteland “of those from before. He sleeps her, lifts her with a double step and has all the bearing of a born player. He doesn’t seem like a kid of today, but he is: and with that Argentine love for the ball, our football will never stop being nourished by great players ”. Clarín’s article it was titled “A kite dream” by Horacio Pagani, although that was clarified a decade later, because it was not signed.

Cornejo, who took the last Argentinos shirt Maradona wore in his life, recalled that “sometimes, he had to deal with defenders who exceeded him in age, height and weight, but he still prevailed. He had a great view of the playing field. While at the age of ten many boys liked to play baby soccer on a small field, Los Cebollitas preferred the regulation one, with all the problems that these dimensions entailed ”.

In those years, Maradona used to go to see Independiente in Avellaneda and was an admirer of Ricardo Bochini (with whom he could play some friendlies later and then in the Argentine national team, and whom he received, when the already veteran player entered against Belgium in the World Cup in Mexico, with a “master pass, we were waiting for him”), although he was raised in a Boca Juniors fan home.

He made his debut in Argentinos Juniors on October 20, 1976 against Talleres de Córdoba and the first ball he touched was a tunnel to Juan Domingo Patricio Cabrera . He entered with number 16 by Rubén Giacobetti at the start of the second half. “That day I touched the sky with my hands,” he always remembers. His first goal was made shortly after, on November 14, against San Lorenzo de Mar del Plata for the National tournament. That day he made two to goalkeeper Rubén Lucangioli.

On February 27, 1977 he was already summoned by Menotti for the Argentine team. His debut was in the Bombonera against Hungary, entering the second half for Leopoldo Luque. Argentina was already winning 4-0 and people began to chant his name. That year he concentrated with the Argentine youth to play the South American in Venezuela, qualifying for the World Cup in Tunisia. He was 16 years old and his teammates, 19. “The kid Maradona is half a team,” said the Clarín envoy , but with two defeats and a draw, the team would not achieve the goal.

One of his first blows in football was received on May 19, 1978, when César Luis Menotti excluded him from the World Cup in Argentina in the concentration of José C. Paz along with Humberto Bravo and Víctor Bottaniz . “I thought he was not serious when he told me. I could not believe it. Upon hearing the news, he ran away from the rally. In that last practice, the substitutes had beaten the starters 5-1 with four goals from Diego ”, remembers Roberto Saporiti, Menotti’s assistant in that team.

In those years, Maradona – who sang “El Sueño del Pibe” in the Minguito Tinguitella program, changing the lyrics, from “I will be a Baldonedo, a Martino, a Boyé” to “I will be a Maradona, a Kempes, an Olguín” – shone in all the fields with Argentinos, although he could never win a championship, but he was the top scorer in several tournaments: Metro 78, Metro and Nacional 79 and Metro and Nacional 80. Several times he fought the championships. He was second to River in the Metro 80 and could have advanced in the Nacional 80, but at that time Menotti summoned him for a long concentration of the Argentine team for the Mundialito in early 1981 in Uruguay. Maradona was about to resign from the national team but Menotti told him that if he did, he could not guarantee a place in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, so he left the club and lost the chance of the title.

In 1979 he had already been called up by Menotti to join the senior team and he dazzled on a tour of Europe, in which he scored his first goal with the blue and white against Scotland by winning 3-1, but what remained on his retina is a Brilliant move at Wembley against England that was not a goal but the ball brushed the post as goalkeeper Ray Clemence came out, who brought the spectators to their feet with applause. That move would then be key to the great goal that would make England seven years later in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, remembering, when he faced Peter Shilton, that his brother made a mistake in that definition.

Also in 1979, he won with the Argentine national team the U-20 Youth World Cup in Japan, a team that Menotti led but that Ernesto Duchini had made up, and that had figures such as Juan Simón, Osvaldo Rinaldi, Osvaldo Escudero, Juan Barbas, Ramón Díaz and Gabriel Calderón. Maradona made a free kick in a 3-1 victory over the USSR in the final in Tokyo on September 7 and was considered the best player of the tournament. People got up early, due to the time difference, to see a brilliant Argentine team, which thrashed in most of its matches, and in the semifinals eliminated Uruguay, which had relegated it from the title at the South American in Montevideo.

In 1980, Enrique Omar Sívori had advised Juventus for his pass and arrived in Buenos Aires accompanied by President Giampiero Boniperti, with an offer of 10 million dollars, but Rear Admiral Carlos Lacoste, a strong man of football during the dictatorship, opposed , and reached an agreement with the then president of Argentinos, Próspero Cónsoli and by stripping the military man Guillermo Suárez Mason, they got the support as a sponsor of the Austral state airline. Also the leader of Barcelona Nicolás Casaus (Argentine) had offered a large sum for him but Menotti was opposed to his departure and that is why a list of non-transferable players was made abroad.

Without going abroad, in 1980 the chance to go to River appeared – in the middle, he scored four goals against Hugo Gatti when he challenged him by calling him “chubby”, in a 5-3 against Boca on the Vélez Sársfield court – but December, when Martín Noel won the presidential elections in Boca after decades of Alberto J. Armando in power, he gave the big blow by getting his transfer to a loan for four million dollars plus the passes of the players Randazzo, Zanabria, Bordón, Salinas , Eduardo Rotondi and Santos. Several of them had become American champions just two years earlier. The agreement is that both would participate in the future of a pass abroad. “Barcelona wanted him, River Plei wanted him , Maradona is from Boca, because he is not a chicken,” the fans sangxeneizes .


Maradona made his debut before an unusual expectation (Miguel Brindisi also debuted), and scored two goals, both penalties, against a Talleres de Córdoba with several members of the Argentine team, Boca won 4-1 and played infiltrated because he was dragging a muscular discomfort in his right leg. He was torn for a month until he returned to River in a Superclásico with a great number of stars in both clubs, in which Boca won 3-0 on April 10 and scored a beautiful goal under heavy rain in the Bombonera, snubbing Fillol and then placing the ball on the stick on which Alberto Tarantini was defending.

Boca ended up being champion, although a date before the end, in Rosario and against Central, Maradona missed his penalty against Daniel Carnevali (the ball hit the crossbar) and forced a definition in the last game, in the Bombonera, against Racing ( Silvio Marzolini’s team was besieged by Carlos Griguol’s Ferro). They drew 1-1 and Maradona scored the xeneize goal, from a penalty.

For Nacional 1981, in which River invested in Mario Kempes, Boca reached the quarterfinals but in the first leg against Vélez Sársfield, Maradona was expelled, and the Liniers club could reverse the defeat of the Bombonera as a local the lack of ten, and Boca was eliminated. The Argentine loan was for a year and a half, but the 1982 World Cup in Spain was approaching, and Menotti had a concentration of previous months for the Argentine team and then he could only play summer friendlies and participate in a tour of Asia and Africa .

Thus ended his participation in Boca with 40 games and 28 goals. In the days before the World Cup in Spain, Maradona left the Argentine camp to sign his new contract with Barcelona. His World Cup debut was on June 13, when the Argentine team was surprisingly defeated by Belgium 1-0 . In the second game, however, Maradona scored two goals in the resounding 4-1 against Hungary. Already in the second phase, the Argentine team was eliminated by losing first 2-1 to Italy (when Maradona was subjected to harsh and constant fouls by Claudio Gentile) and then without extenuating by Brazil 3-1, when, faced with the impotence of the team, was sent off for a hard kick against the steering wheel Batista.

In Barcelona they were not easy times. Already a boyfriend with Claudia Villafañe, he surrounded himself with her and many of his friends who visited him in the upper area of ​​Sarriá, and led a turbulent life, in addition to being punished by too many extra football elements. Beyond that he dazzled with his game and his technical conditions under the command of Udo Lattek, in December 1982 he suffered hepatitis that marginalized him for three months in which Barcelona was eliminated from the European Cup Winners’ Cup and Lattek (from many discussions with Maradona ) was dismissed and replaced by Menotti.Barcelona was already very far from the League but ended up winning the Copa del Rey in a final against Real Madrid (2-1) in Zaragoza. He also won the League Cup against Real Madrid and in that final he scored a goal in each stadium with the particularity that the aesthetics of the marking at the Santiago Bernabeu motivated the white fans to give him a standing ovation, something unusual.

When everything seemed to be heading at the beginning of the 1983/84 season, just on the fourth date of the League, September 24, 1983, Barcelona received Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou and there a very harsh lack of Andoni Goicoetxea (who conserves that loot as a museum piece) when the locals won 4-0, he fractured the ankle of his left leg. He returned earlier than expected, at three and a half months, but again it was too late to win the league title despite his 11 goals in 16 games. He was left with the Copa del Rey, just like the previous season, wrapped in a context of very hard verbal confrontation between Menotti and Athletic’s coach, Javier Clemente. Added to that, it was the reunion between Maradona and Goicoetxea, after the injury, and Athletic was the league champion. It was played at the Bernabeu on May 5, 1984. The Basques won 1-0 but the worst came in the end, when Maradona attacked his rival Miguel Angel Sola. It was a pitched battle with the king in the box, and that generated harsh suspensions for many of the protagonists.

Supposedly, Maradona could not play that final because he had been sent off in the semifinal, but the Federation lifted that sanction. Being suspended then to play in Spain until December 1984, the president of Barcelona, ​​José Luis Núñez, decided to accept an offer from Napoli, which raised a million dollars when rows of tifosi appeared at the Monte de Paschi bank counter. of Siena with wads of lira to deposit in the club account. It was presented on July 5 with the complete San Paolo stadium. Napoli had been saved from relegation by one point and it was a total expectation. It also represented a very important economic gain for Maradona after his association with his agent Jorge Czysterpille did not work.r. He left Barcelona with 38 goals in 58 games and with a turbulent life in which he began to enter the world of drugs.

The first year at Napoli was difficult. He started losing to Verona 3-1 and the first round ended very badly but Maradona started to recover in the second and finished third in the scorers’ table with 14 goals. This convinced the leaders to fight for the next Scudetto and so it was that with the hiring of Bruno Giordano in the attack, he finished third with Juventus champions, and qualified for the UEFA Cup. In October 1985, Guillermo Cóppola replaced Czysterpiller. “I found that in his house all were articles from different advertising exchanges but Diego charged little money and that had to be reversed,” said the representative, who became inseparable from the player.

San Paolo cried out “Maradona, take care of us / if it doesn’t happen now, it won’t happen anymore / your Argentina will be here / we can’t wait any longer.” Already many parish priests began to have many baptisms with babies named Diego Armando. By that time, Carlos Bilardo was already the manager of the Argentine team, replacing Menotti, and with him, the captaincy had also changed from Daniel Passarella to Maradona, who had been out of the national team from the World Cup in Spain until May 1985. , just over a year from the World Cup in Mexico.The team was not enthusiastic, it was minutes away from being eliminated against Peru in the Monumental and then, it did not like it in the previous friendlies in which there were group meetings, and everything was reversed in the World Cup, in which Maradona’s performance was sensational ( some risk the opinion that he won it alone or that he had the greatest influence exerted by a player on a world champion team).

The World Cup in Mexico, to which Maradona arrived with great physical preparation, was not without controversy, such as the one he had with the president of FIFA, Joao Havelange, for the times of the matches. “I don’t want to say that everything is fine when everything is wrong. I want you to let me say how I feel. My truth. Because if they make me play at 12 noon with a sun that breaks my head, I have the right to say so. I put my face on the court. Nobody pays to see Havelange. ” The day before, Havelange, faced with complaints from Maradona and Valdano, had said that the players “have to respect the law above. There are TV issues that were agreed upon and in order for them to reach all countries well, there are acquired rights. There is no other solution”.

On June 22, Argentina had to face England four years after the Malvinas War and the match was taking on a special connotation. In the 51st minute, Steve Hodge involuntarily rejected high into his own goal, Maradona jumped alongside England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and the ball went into goal. The confusion remained if it had been by a punch from Maradona or with his head but the goal was validated despite the protests of the British. Later, Maradona said, mischievously, that in the goal “I didn’t touch her, it was with the hand of God . ” “If I would do something again, it is a goal with the hand to the English,” he declared days ago, in an interview with the magazine France FootballRegarding his 60th birthday and for which, ineffably, he asked in exchange for the Golden Ball of Honor that the publication had given him in 1995 but which succumbed in the fire during a fire in his father’s house. The French magazine agreed, after studying it, beyond the six thousand euros of cost to recover the trophy.

After a while came the one considered in 2002 as the best goal in the history of the World Cups, when Maradona started from the middle of the field and was eluding six English players (Glenn Hoddle, Peter Reid, Kenny Sansom, Terry Butcher, Terry Fenwick and goalkeeper Shilton) to score the goal that led to one of the most beautiful radio stories in the history of football, by Víctor Hugo Morales, finished off with the question “Cosmic kite, what planet did you come from? ”. The discount was marked by Gary Lineker and with this triumph, amid the euphoria, the Argentine team qualified for the semifinal, in which, in a great performance, they beat Belgium 2-0 with two goals from Maradona.

On June 29, again at the Azteca stadium, the Argentine team was crowned world champion for the second time by beating Germany 3-2 in a match in which Maradona was very well marked by Lottar Matthaeus, but when the match was tied 2-2 and there were only a few minutes to go to the extension, managed to place a sensational pass to the race to Jorge Burruchaga and he was able to score the title goal. Maradona established himself as the best player in the World Cup, with five goals and five assists, and was crowned king of world football, definitively, only comparable to the Brazilian Pele.

Upon returning to Italy, as if it were not enough, he managed to win the Scudetto for Napoli for the first time in the history of this club. It was the revenge of the south against the north, and inscriptions on the walls such as “To all the tifosi who have died waiting for this day”, “The children of the sun greet the children of the cold”, “Our Maradona / who descends on earth / Hallowed be your name / Naples is your kingdom / renew our illusion / and lead us to the Scudetto / with the wisdom of the Paternoster ”. He also stayed in the same year with the Italian Cup, by beating Atalanta. Only Juventus and Torino had achieved it in history. Napoli went from 25,000 to 65,000 members.

In 1987/88 the Brazilian Careca joined the squad to compose the “Mágica” front (Maradona, Giordano, Careca). He was on his way to the two-time championship, but was overtaken by the mighty Milan of Arrigo Sacchi and the Dutch Van Basten, Gullit and Rikjaard in the final. Maradona was the top scorer with 15, but along with several players, he was accused of selling the tournament, something never proven. He also began to be linked to the Camorra . In the 1988/89 season, Napoli won the UEFA Cup in a final with Stuttgart at the same time that they finished second in the League behind Inter, and in 1990 they won the Scudetto again and in December, the Italian Super Cup against Juventus for 5-1.

He came to the 1990 World Cup in Italy at his best. He knew the country well, he came from being Italian champion and the Argentine team was the current world champion, although it had not done well in the two America’s Cups. In 1987 he could not pass the semifinals at home against Uruguay and in 1989, in Brazil, with an overweight Maradona and wanting to go to Olympique de Marseille (his president, tycoon Bernard Tapie, had made him a succulent offer) but He was tied to a contract until 1993, he barely left the memory of a shot from the center circle in Maracana against Uruguay, with the ball that hit the crossbar and goalkeeper Javier Zeoli defeated, which made the spectators stand up to applaud him .

That year another incident took place with the World Cup draw in Rome, when he described it as “a farce, arranged in the wrong way to put the Argentine team in the most difficult area, while Italy is in the easiest. The raffle was done only to amuse the viewers. ” Blatter, in charge of the event, said that these statements “are a very serious offense, incredibly awkward.” “I don’t know what to think,” Maradona replied, “if he’s stupid or malicious.”

In Italy, he was not without problems with media such as “Il Mattino” and the channel “Supersport 10”. After a game against Udinese (2-2), the newspaper rated Maradona 3.5 and was signed by a veteran journalist, Giuseppe Pacileo. Maradona went looking for him on Monday on his Channel 34 program “Number One” because he had said in the comment that Maradona “should be ashamed, if he still knows what shame is.” Maradona unexpectedly entered the studio with a ball of paper in his hand and told Pacileo to open his mouth and said “what you wrote, I’ll make you eat it.” At the exit, he said “it doesn’t bother me even if I wear a one, but I have nothing to be ashamed of. I can’t afford it ”. A few days before the World Cup, in the concentration of Trigoria, Maradona was injured when a young man from the lower divisions of Roma stepped on him and had an ingrown nail, and his physical conditions were not the same. All precautions were taken and added to that, and another knee ailment that it had to infiltrate, it was a team with few offensive resources, which barely qualified for the round of 16 after starting losing in Milan against Cameroon.

Before starting the tournament, Maradona received from President Carlos Menem the diplomatic passport and at the San Siro stadium he was insulted by the public, due to old rivalries with Napoli, which would prepare the ground for the semifinals against the locals. To make matters worse, the match against Italy, which arrived undefeated and without goals against, was played at the San Paolo, and with flags that said “sorry Diego, today we are Italians”, but Maradona had already removed the hornet’s nest when, knowing the next rival and when asked about who would the Neapolitans swell for, he said that “in Italy they forget that they are treated as foreigners all year long.” They drew 1-1 and the Argentine team qualified for the final after winning on penalties before a muted stadium and with two penalties saved by Sergio Goycoechea, although Maradona converted his against Walter Zenga.

Already in the final, at the Olympic stadium in Rome, against Germany, Maradona had to face the Italian fans who whistled at the time of the execution of the Argentine anthem and appealed to return the insult looking at the TV camera. Argentina ended up losing 1-0 with two sent off and a very doubtful penalty, executed by Andreas Brehme, which was charged by the Mexican Edgardo CodesaHe, who became little less than an enemy for Maradona, to the point of not greeting the president of FIFA, Joao Havelange, at the awards ceremony, and getting very angry with Menem and Julio Grondona in 1991, when he learned that it they had invited Argentina. “How can it be that Grondona is the vice president of FIFA, that in the World Cup final he killed us, and that he didn’t say anything? And on top of that, he sends a letter to the president of Roma, Dino Viola, to thank him for the attention he received when in fact they treated us very badly. What am I, Ruggeri, Giusti? Idiots, idiots? Didn’t we tell you how they treated us? I no longer play in the National Team. It is a decision made, analyzed. I have anger because they lied to me ”.

After the World Cup in Italy, there was a resounding change in Maradona’s life. He separated from his agent Cóppola and replaced him with Marcos Franchi, and after winning the Super Cup with Napoli in December 1990, on March 17, 1991 he tested positive for cocaine against Bari (Napoli had won 1-0 ). The Italian Federation gave him a 15-month suspension, ratified by the Appeal Committee. By then, the Roman daily La Repubblicareleased a poll that indicated that Maradona was the most hated character in the country with 34% of the vote, followed by Saddam Hussein with 25%. “The theme was the fall, which the Romans suffered so much in ancient times. They all felt betrayed by Diego. It was the defeated country. The traditional punishment for people who betrayed was to bury them alive: the torment that Dante Alighieri inflicted on Cardinal Ruggiero in the Divine Comedy, archetype of the Infernal Circle of traitors. The profuse accusations were just that: a burial without prior murder ”, argue Denis Nagy and Rodrigo Fernandez in their brilliant book“ From the hand of God to their booties ”.

The episode against Spartak Moscow, for the European Champions Cup, was also going to leave its mark. The Napoli squad was waiting for him at the Capodiccino airport to travel, but he did not appear. They then sent their companions Ferrara, De Nápoli and Crippa to look for him at his house and President Ferlaino was already threatening economic sanctions. The team traveled without him and on match day Maradona rented a Cessna C-550 twinjet at a cost of $ 30,000. He sat on the bench with a blanket and the number 16 on his shirt and entered at 18 minutes of the second half. They tied 0-0 and Napoli lost on penalties (he scored his). Since then,the club was estimated to have lost about $ 10 million and Ferlaino froze payments to his account and declared war on him. “Do not have any illusions that I will stay in Napoli until 1993. When this League ends, I will leave,” Maradona threatened.

Also, at that time, the journalist Francesco Marolda from “Il Mattino” received a harsh response from him to the criticisms made by Pope John Paul II. “Certainly, if the Pope when he came to Naples had said ‘don’t spend a million dollars to build my box, use it for the poor children of Naples’, well, then he would have the right to say certain things about Maradona. But if not, you can’t talk about me. If it does, that means we are truly out of the world. Be careful, don’t drag Maradona into this story because Maradona also has feelings and a mouth to speak. I respect, or rather, I respected the Pope but God – in my opinion – is something else. Unfortunately I am blaspheming. And I regret it, because I am a Catholic, but a Catholic who rebels against certain things ”.

Francesco Maglione, a lawyer for the Giuliano clan, indicated to the journalist of the newspaper El País , Maruja Torres, that Maradona “as soon as he arrived in Naples, he asked for the person who had the most power in the city. Notice that he did not want to meet the mayor but a capo. (Carmine) Giuliano never wanted to see Maradona because he knew he was on cocaine and it is a matter that disgusts him ”. He did not seem to remember that when Maradona came to live in Naples, a few days later his Ferrari disappeared and it was Giuliano who told him the conditions he had to meet to get it back. After the game with Bari, the sporting director, Luciano Moggi, (later involved in notorious corruption cases with Juventus) had said in the locker room “Maradona or me”.

He left Italy with four trials, two civil and two criminal: the Sinagra case, with Napoli for breach of contract, for consumption and transfer of narcotic drugs and for the self-report of a “repentant”, Pietro Pugliese, who involved Maradona in trafficking of drugs. Before leaving, Maradona distributed among his friends and servants a Honda 750 for Ignacio, the koala for Ciro, the electrician, a “motorino” for Felice, the Seat Ibiza for Gianni, a scroll for Federico and everything in the kitchen and the fourth, for Lucia. For exit procedures, he used the diplomatic passport that Menem gave him in 1990. Meanwhile, the prestigious anti-doping doctor Manfred Donicke had questioned whether the urine test tubes had been guarded and examined according to FIFA and UEFA regulations, and raised doubts about the method of conservation and transport of the test tubes, but everything was rejected by Federacalcio. Donicke raised his doubts about an “in vitro” production, the possibility of manipulating test tubes: it was possible to remove and replace the seal without anyone noticing.

The journalist Vittorio de Asmundis portrayed Maradona’s last report before returning to Argentina:

-You run away like a thief …

– They force me to escape …

– Who? Ferlaino? Punzo? And behind them, who? Montezemolo, Matarrese, Casarín? …

“What you may not know – insists the journalist – is that Ferlaino is linked to Berlusconi and Agnelli, that is, to the Italy that counts, the North, because it has stakes in construction companies in Milan and from 1988, Maradona to have problems because he did not want to enter into the arrangements, precisely at the time when Napoli lost the Scudetto to Milan and Maradona went on vacation without making any statement so as not to accuse his own teammates, who were in debt playing poker and that they were then obliged to enter the arranged matches. That is why Maradona was threatened and they ended up making him pay… ”.

Thus, he settled in Buenos Aires from April 1, 1991, and on April 26, a police operation raided his Caballito apartment, where he was with two friends and they found drugs. He left after paying bail and Judge Amelia Berraz de Vidal ordered him to undergo a rehabilitation process.At that time, Maradona played some benefit games but the one with the greatest impact was the one organized to favor the widow of Juan Gilberto Funes. Within hours of the match, FIFA sent a fax to the AFA that said “for the good of the deceased player, the presence of Maradona on the pitch together with other players registered with the AFA could lead to sanctions from FIFA for the latter. , in application of the statutes and regulations ”. Grondona also tried to warn them but the game was played with referees who were not from the AFA and one of the two teams had twelve players.

Although he was able to play again after the suspension on July 1, 1992, it was only on September 22 that his pass was unlocked when Sevilla paid Naples 7.5 million dollars. Ferlaino did not want to sell it and not even sit down to talk with Sevilla but strangely he mediated a FIFA that needed Maradona active for the 1994 World Cup in the USA. At Sevilla there were Bilardo as DT and Diego Simeone as a player, as was the Croatian Davor Suker, later a star at Real Madrid and at the 1998 World Cup.

In Sevilla he had constant problems with President Luis Cuervas, who did not authorize him to travel with the National Team, but, together with Simeone, he traveled the same to play the Artemio Franchi Cup against Denmark in 1993. On June 13 of that year, before Burgos, Bilardo replaced him with Munchu in a game in which, like the last ones, he had played undercover. Maradona was insulting Bilardo and then he recognized that at his house they were taken with fists, and Claudia had to separate them. This broke relations between Maradona and the leadership. He played 29 games, scored 6 goals and Sevilla finished seventh, 15 points behind champion Barcelona.

He decided to return to Argentina for 1993 and although there was talk of his return to Argentinos Juniors and even a pass to San Lorenzo because of his friendship with Bambino Héctor Veira, he ended up playing for Newells Old Boys. On September 13, at the first training session, 40,000 people came to see him. He came to play five official games but between a tear and Jorge Solari left and Jorge Castelli arrived, with whom he did not have a good feeling (he did not respect the agreed licenses), he ended up leaving. He did not score goals. He also played two friendlies, the one in the presentation against Emelec (which Lionel Messi claims to have attended with his family when he was little) and against Vasco Da Gama. He had not been summoned by Basile for the World Cup qualifiers after the Argentine consecration in the Copa América. “Basile got drunk on both glasses,” he said angrily,He returned for the two repechage games against Australia (1-1 with a goal from Balbo and 1-0 with a goal from Batistuta). At that time, there was no anti-doping control by FIFA and over time, Maradona came to qualify as “Café Veloz” what they “gave us”.

On February 2, 1994, fed up with journalists prowling his house, he shot them with a compressed air rifle in his house in Moreno. For this, he was sentenced to two years in suspended prison and to compensate journalists .

He was present in the previous friendlies of the national team before the World Cup but it was necessary to suspend participation in the Kirin Cup because in Japan they denied him a visa to enter. He then had an intense preparation for the World Cup with Professor Daniel Lentini but ended up separated from the squad when FIFA announced, after the second group stage match against Nigeria in Boston, that he was involved in a doping case “for having ingested a cocktail of substances, ”according to what was indicated in a massive press conference in Dallas. His debut in his fourth World Cup could not have been better. 4-0 against Greece, when he scored his last goal in the World Cup, and 2-1 against Nigeria with the fast pass to Claudio Caniggia for him to score a decisive goal alreadyThere he was raffled for anti-doping. Then he would say in a remembered interview that “they cut off my legs.” Twelve years later, the president of the AFA, Julio Grondona, would say that “he cut his legs by himself.” “When FIFA was good at Argentina, whose presence was essential for the success of the North American World Cup, they did not go with so many subtleties … someone would have to explain to me why the anti-doping control was not carried out after the two tiebreakers against Australia”, said Gianni Mina, journalist RAI Italian and one of the s that best met Maradona in his years of calcium.

Over the days, the distant relationship between Maradona and the campus doctor, Ernesto Ugalde, who did not have access to his room, or the influence that bodybuilder Daniel Cerrini had during that World Cup became known. The truth is that exactly twenty years since the death of Juan Domingo Perón, on July 1, 1994, once again the majority of Argentines seemed to be living a day of mourning. Many doubted what happened. They had seen the enormous effort of Maradona in preparation for the World Cup and it did not seem consistent with what happened. He was suspended again by FIFA for another year and a half, until September 15, 1995, when he would be about to turn 35.

It had not been clear either what happened in the act of the retest in Los Angeles, when Dr. Roberto Peidró (also a doctor of the Argentine campus) noted that one of the two bottles of Maradona’s urine was not properly closed, to the confusion general, but after a short break, the procedure continued as if nothing had happened, although the Argentine doctor signed in dissent. Maradona insisted that what had happened is that the player took a few doses of Ripped Fast, which he ingested in Buenos Aires, and then he bought the same substance in pharmacies in the United States, but called Ripped Fuel there.

After the World Cup, Dr. Néstor Lentini, with whom he trained at CENARD, gave a demonstration in Buenos Aires with two bottles, one white and orange, and the other dark, and showed graphs of how Maradona had dropped from 82 to 78 kilos before the World Cup and said: “on my word of honor, there was no animosity of transgression.” Four volunteers were given Ripped Fuel and others Ripped Fast, and in the first, peaks of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and methylephedrine appeared on the chromatograph. And the other two metabolites that FIFA says it found in Maradona’s analysis appeared in the urine: norephedrine and norpseudoephedrine. In other words, the five substances appeared in a single remedy, the Ripped Fuel.

Later, Grondona reflected before the magazine Gente: “If we met again today, we would say” no, Dr. Lentini has to control everything “, but when is that seen? After, always after. Because at the right moment, we were not able to say “this man cannot be. It has to be Lentini. I did not know that man, Daniel Cerrini. Later – when it was late – I found out about things. I cannot know if Maradona or the boys who were next to Maradona knew that man because if they knew him and knew about it, they should have had much greater control over Cerrini ”… and although Grondona flatly denied having negotiated with FIFA for personal matters, Maradona did not think the same: “I give you the FIFA vice-presidency if you condemn Maradona or remove him… this is part of the arrangements of the FIFA leaders, who will have lost a great player, but as a man they didn’t change me. They have done me a lot of harm, but they will not be able to change me ”.

The late Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano said then that the blame for what happened to Maradona “lies with the power machine. He had it sworn to him because he sang the forty to her And that has its price and the price is charged in cash and without discounts. Maradona himself gave the justification, due to his suicidal tendency to serve himself on a platter in the mouth of many of his enemies and that childish irresponsibility that pushes him to rush into every trap that opens his way. Maradona had never used stimulants on the eve of matches to multiply his body.

It is true that he was involved in cocaine, but he doped at sad parties to forget or be forgotten, when he was already forgotten by glory and could not live without the fame that would not let him live … this short man has had and has the habit of throwing upward blows in Mexico and the United States, in ’86 and ’94.His voice has been the strongest that has denounced the TV dictatorship, which has put football at his service and forces him to play at noon … no one has so much fun or fun chatting with the ball. Nobody gives as much joy as this magician who dances and flies and solves matches with an impossible pass or a deadly shot ”. In that period without being able to play, he assumed in October 1994 as Deportivo Mandiyú coach in a couple with his former teammate Carlos Fren but it lasted two months, with a victory, 6 draws and 5 defeats. The Paraguayan player Guido Alvarenga later said that “I don’t know if we played well but the roasts were very good.” After that time at Mandiyú, he hired Cóppola again and left Franchi and in January 1995 he moved the football environment again to directing Racing, but it lasted 4 months with 11 games: 2 wins, 6 draws and 3 losses.

Always in action against the powers of FIFA, on September 28, 1995 he founded the World Footballers Union with Eric Cantona, George Weah, Gianluca Vialli, Gianfranco Zola, Laurent Blanc, Tomas Brolin, Rai, Ciro Ferrara and Michel Preud’homme , but his shares were diluting in a short time. He was also invited to the University of Oxford. At that time, Maradona was indignant with the appointment of Daniel Passarella as manager of the Argentine team, after the World Cup in the United States. Very opposed for a decade, the “Kaiser” imposed a rhinoscopy for the players called up to the national team, which seemed like a message for ten. In addition to this, Passarella and Fernando Redondo were leaving a hotel in Madrid without agreeing because, according to the flyer, they had suggested that he cut his hair.

“In the end, I’m going to become a fan of Redondo,” said Maradona, who had also been distanced from the midfielder since 1992, when he played for Angel Cappa’s Tenerife, and Diego, for Bilardo’s Sevilla in the Spanish League. There were also other darts on this topic: “Cutting one’s hair to be in the national team, like (Gabriel) Batistuta, shows a lack of character”. A few days later, he appeared with part of his hair dyed blonde. He had gotten very close to President Menem. It was said at that time that the reason was to have his court cases drafted but the truth is that he went to the Olivos Residence a lot to watch games together and the time for his authorization to play again was approaching. His desire was to return to Boca, but the leadership did not seem to share it and looked the other way, and then he concocted a play with very good results: on the day of the presidential re-election, Menem appeared with him and Pelé, and the Brazilian announced the possible signing for Santos. It was then that in a few days,Boca ended up hiring him for a second cycle. Over time, the pates recognized that Maradona wanted to return to Boca and achieved the goal of having their leaders “bite”. In Boca he met again with Marzolini as DT, as in 1981, and although it seemed that he was going to win the title, everything fell after a 4-6 against Racing Club the day that Mauricio Macri was elected president (that day, Maradona put a tremendous pass from one field to the other that ended in a goal by Sergio “Manteca” Martínez), and finally, Velez de Carlos Bianchi was the champion.

With Macri as president, in 1996, Maradona had many problems. He called him “El Cartonero Báez” because he complained that he did not spend money on player payments or heavy contracts, and often did not attend training sessions, and ended up buying one of the main boxes of the new Bombonera building. . In 1997, already with Héctor Veira as DT, he hired Ben Johnson as a physical trainer, who had been defenestrated for doping at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In one of those games, against Argentinos Juniors, (Boca won 4-2) he was raffled off for another anti-doping control, which tested positive for the presence of benzoitylecgonine and methylecgonine, metabolites of cocaine. The retest was also positive, Although Maradona had already made a police report the previous days of some alleged calls in which they threatened to place drugs on him. Judge Claudio Bonadío took those calls for granted and determined not to innovate and forced the AFA to withdraw the provisional suspension, although he also decided that the player would have to undergo mandatory anti-doping controls after each game.He returned on October 25, 1997 against River at the Monumental (Boca won 1-2) and at halftime he was replaced by Juan Román Riquelme. That was his last official match. On his 37th birthday, 10/30/97, he announced his retirement.

He was hospitalized several times for his addiction to cocaine, as after the Chilean TV program “Viva el Monday”, hosted by Cecilia Bolocco on Channel 13, or the January 2000 scare when he was taken to the Cantegril sanatorium when he was on vacation in Punta del Este, with a hypertensive crisis and a picture of ventricular arrhythmia. As cocaine was detected in the exams, he had to testify before the Uruguayan justice, and when he left he traveled to Cuba for rehabilitation, although he stayed there for several years. Another time he was admitted to the neuropsychiatric clinic “Del Parque” to detoxify (“some believed Napoleon, but I could not believe Maradona”). And another, at the Güemes Sanatorium in March 2007, where he was diagnosed with chemical, acute and toxic hepatitis ”for which he was in the hospital for two weeks. Upon leaving, He had a relapse and was transferred to the Madre Teresa de Calcuta sanatorium in Ezeiza and referred to the Arcos de Bs As sanatorium, when he decided to enter the Avril clinic to end his addiction to alcohol. There were even rumors about his death. Cuba received him with open arms. Many say that the only character that Maradona admired in his life as someone superior to him is Fidel Castro, whom he met in 1987 and later defined as “the most intelligent of all the rulers that exist in the world today. I did not see an equal potentiality in any other. Fidel is wise and modest. The Cubans have a man in front of him who is a phenomenon and he seemed to touch the sky with his hands. In this country, there are no barefoot boys ”. “Fidel was, honestly, the man who moved me the most. It was as if I was touching the story. I know that what I say, Cubans in Miami do not like it, but I tell them that I am not going to solve the problems they have in Cuba and I am not asking them to solve the problems I have in Argentina either. It was the best time of my life. Fidel is a sacred monster ”, he declared.

His farewell match was held at the Bombonera on November 10, 2001 between the Argentine team, led by Marcelo Bielsa, and a team of stars, led by Alfio Basile, and with players such as Cantona, Suker, Riquelme, Valderrama, Stoichkov, Solano and Higuita. After the game, he took the microphone and said “I was wrong and I paid, but the ball is not stained.” In 2003 he ended his marriage with Claudia Villafañe and returned again with Cóppola. With Claudia (with whom he became a boyfriend dancing to the rhythm of “Yo te propongo”, by Roberto Carlos) he had married on November 7, 1989 with a huge party at Luna Park.

With miraculous physical changes after each fall, he was able to reinvent himself a thousand times, as when in 2005 he weighed 120 kilos for which he underwent gastric surgery in Cartagena de Indias and in a few months he dropped more than 50 and that’s when They offered him to host his own program, “La noche del Diez”, in which he first invited Pelé and interviewed Fidel Castro and also participated in a dance program at RAI. By the end of that year, 2005, he began to increase in his politicization when he participated in the Peoples’ Summit, also called Counter-Summit, in opposition to the IV Summit of the Americas. For that, he boarded the Alba Train from Bs As with 160 passengers to Mar del Plata (filmed and later taken to the documentary by Serbian film director Emir Kusturica), in opposition to the FTAA and repudiation of the presence in Argentina of the president of the USA George Bush (son). The then Bolivian president Evo Morales, the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, the Cuban singer Silvio Rodríguez, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo also demonstrated in Mar del Plata.

In October 2008 he was appointed technical director of the Argentine national team to replace Alfio Basile, and was presented together with Bilardo (general coordinator) and the qualification for the World Cup in South Africa suffered a lot, such as the 6-1 loss to Bolivia in La Paz or against Brazil in Rosario (1-3) after changing stadium to get more encouragement from the public, but they got a pass to the World Cup on the last date against Uruguay in Montevideo. That day, October 14, 2009, he had two very harsh phrases against journalism at the Centenario stadium press conference (“Let them keep sucking her”, and “You have her inside”) and that is why FIFA suspended him for two months and fined him 25,000 Swiss francs.

After the Argentine team passed the first round and the round of 16 (against Mexico), it was categorically defeated by Germany in the quarterfinals in Cape Town. He had been criticized many calls (such as Pozo, Garcé and Palermo) and a hundred players called during a two-year cycle. The AFA did not renew his contract at the end of the World Cup because he did not accept the new conditions: to change his coaching staff.

In 2011 he took over the technical direction of Al Wasl in Dubai but was fired in mid-2012 due to poor results and shortly after was appointed, until today, sports ambassador of the United Arab Emirates. In May 2017 he was appointed coach of Al Fujairah, in the US Second Division but did not achieve the objective of promotion and was fired, and a year later he was appointed president of Dinamo Brest of Belarus , although two months later he went on to direct the Dorados de Sinaloa, who were last in Second and almost promoted to First.

After the hard confrontations with FIFA, it seemed that in 2016 his moment of peace had arrived with the institution of Zurich with the presidential election of the Italian-Swiss Gianni Infantino, who accepted him close to his circle as an adviser, but in 2018 he moved away from he and the former Croatian footballer Zvonimir Boban, undersecretary general of the Swiss entity, considering that “things have not changed anything since the times of Havelange or Blatter” and in the World Cup draw in Russia, he harshly attacked the then coach of the national team Argentina, Jorge Sampaoli, saying on TV to everyone that the team “does not play at anything and will have to improve a lot.” When he began his return to Argentina, he had declared that he was going to dedicate himself to his health, but he could not be long away from his passion, football,

However, the arrival of Maradona to the “Lobo” of La Plata on September 5, 2019 caused a real commotion in the world of football. In less than a week the jerseys with his name had been sold out, more than four thousand new members had signed up and the day of its presentation the old Bosque stadium was full (and the former player and current River Ignacio was seen in the stands. González, and Claudio Caniggia in the stalls, to greet his friend). With homage from almost all the rivals when he went to visit (they came to specially condition his bench of substitutes almost as if it were a throne and was applauded by almost all the fans) he did not obtain good results and after the last date, when he was defeated for Boca, who was champion in the Bombonera with a goal from his friend Carlos Tevez,

However, he had not been feeling well, and on October 30, on his 60th birthday, from his surroundings it is said that he felt the absence of his parents, now deceased, and the continuous problems between his relatives, who cross accusations among themselves and those who are close to him on a day-to-day basis, such as his lawyer Matías Morla and his doctor, Leopoldo Luque. Added to that, he was concerned about the death of his brother-in-law Raúl Machuca, 77, and because one of his players, Nicolás Contín, had contracted Covid-19 and had to be isolated and removed from the Gymnastics team. In the midst of the pandemic, his environment helped him move from his home in Bella Vista to a country house in Berisso because in his previous home, the guard made problems for the numerous visits.

In that long time without football (the worst thing that could happen to a passionate person like him), he was received by the Argentine president, Alberto Fernández (a well-known Argentine Juniors fan), who encouraged him to be part of the campaign, together with the Red Cross, “Las Diez del Diez”), for which ten T-shirts with his signature were auctioned to favor disadvantaged children and neighborhood pastures.

For the first date of the Cup of the new Professional Football League, when Gimnasia was to receive the Board of Trustees, just on his birthday, and despite feeling bad, he decided to go to the Bosque stadium to receive a plaque from Marcelo Tinelli (head of the LFP) and Claudio Tapia (president of the AFA) but did not stay for the game and returned home, but just three days later, as his discomfort persisted, he accepted the suggestion of his doctor Luque and He decided to go into hospital for various check-ups until it was decided to operate on a subdural hematoma in the brain.

Among its many facets, he commented on the 2006 World Cup for Canal Cuatro in Madrid and the 2014 World Cup for Telesur with the daily program “De Zurda”. It has a monument in the Xeneize Passion Museum and another in Bahía Blanca, and sculptures in many parts of the world. Since December 2003, the Argentinos Juniors stadium, where he returned to play a tribute match to the journalist Sergio Gendler, when he was cheered by the fans of the “Bichitos” – it bears his name.

With more than twenty books written about his life and his exploits around the world –among them, one by this author, “Maradona, rebel with a cause” – received tributes from many artists, such as the theme “La Mano de Dios” ( Rodrigo), “Maradó” (Los Piojos), “And give joy to my heart” (Fito Páez), “I follow you” (Los Calzones), “Santa Maradona” (Black Hand), “Maradona” (Andrés Calamaro) , “Maradona’s Blues” (Charly García and Claudio Gabis), “Forever Diego” (Los Mice Paranoicos), “Sniper” (Attaque 77), “Captain Pelusa” (Los Cafres), “Who is God?” (Las Pastillas del Abuelo), “La Vida Tómbola” (Manu Chao) and films such as “Maradona, the hand of God”, by Marco Risi (2007) and a documentary, “Maradona by Kusturica” (2008), and “Looking for to Maradona ”.

For the next few weeks, in addition, the launch of a miniseries about his life, “Blessed Dream”, is expected by Amazon Prime, which gave rise to new controversies from his environment and threats of lawsuits. He has also had lawsuits for paternity, for sexual harassment, for the Italian treasury, for violence. The ups and downs of their environment, especially the conflicts between their ex-partners or some of their children with others, are usually talk of the media, of which they are usually habitual. If in addition to the two daughters he had with Claudia Villafañe (Dalma and Giannina), he had already recognized Diego Armando Jr (who had with the Italian Cristiana Sinagra), Diego Fernando (with Verónica Ojeda) and Jana (who lately stayed behind sleep at home, and that he had with Valkeria Sabain, a waitress from the disco “La Diosa”), In recent times, other claims for paternity of Magalí Gil (24 years old, two daughters) and Santiago, 22 years old, who says he is his son and his deceased mother, Natalia Garat) have appeared. In addition, the growing version circulates that during his stay in Cuba he had four other children, Joana, Lu, Javielito and Harold.

Maradona, for many, has been the maximum expression of aesthetic football, and his statistics as a player are eloquent: 312 goals in 588 games (0.53 on average) and 207 assists in clubs. 68 goals in 136 games (0.50) and 69 assists for the national team. 358 goals in 724 official games (0.50) and 257 assists (0.35) in his total career. C oncred as a symbol of Argentina, it was common to see him encouraging any team or national representative from the stands, stalls or boxes, even shouting, like another fan, generating motivational videos, or communicating directly with the protagonists of any sport .

Jorge Valdano, his former teammate in the 1986 world champion Argentine team, said that “the moment Maradona retired from active football, he left Argentina traumatized. Maradona was more than a great footballer. It was an extraordinary factor of compensation for a country that in a few years experienced several military dictatorships and social frustrations of all kinds ”.

Loved or hated, Maradona was a permanent watershed, drawing a red line between those who were on his side or on the other, for transcendent or trivial issues. A stamp, poster, tattoo or flag, he is perhaps one of the greatest representatives of rebellion in the world, and one of the most recognized characters in any corner of the earth . The late Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti returns with his definition of the relationship between Maradona and the miracles when he maintains that the goal against the English in Mexico 1986, “with the help of the divine hand is, for now, the only reliable proof of the existence of God”.

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