Maradona dead – god, drugs, mafia – – today

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Diego Maradona
Photo: dpa

Diego Armando Maradona is a saint for many of his life. The Argentine kicks to escape poverty and then tries drugs to cope with stifling fame. Now perhaps the best footballer of all time has died at the age of 60. Even as a child, Diego Armando wanted to forget Maradona. Seven of them, his parents and four sisters, grew up in the 1960s in the slums of Buenos Aires in a small hut with no running water. Maradona’s means of escaping poverty: football. “Life becomes unimportant on the pitch,” said perhaps the most talented footballer of all time: “The problems, everything becomes unimportant.” But football soon added overwhelming fame and idolatry, and to escape the pressure, Maradona took refuge early on in drug and alcohol addiction. Now, at the age of 60, the former world football star pays tribute to his lifestyle and succumbs to cardiac arrest.

Legend dies at the age of 60 It’s not just football that pays homage to Maradona

“He was my liberator,” said Argentina’s future number 10 in his early years of football. His talent is quickly recognizable – and the pressure on the adolescents quickly increases. “We cried when he ran out onto the field for the first time,” his mother once said. At the age of 15 Maradona was given an apartment by the football club, into which he moved with his entire family. In the beginning, when he played football, he was just about getting the family a roof over their heads.

The short-grown dribble king is soon too good for Argentina and switched from Boca Juniors to Europe in 1982: as the most expensive player in the world to FC Barcelona and for the record sum of around 5.5 million euros. But in his two years at the world club, things don’t go smoothly, the high-end technician is sometimes sick and sometimes injured. It was during this time that he came into contact with cocaine for the first time and moved around the houses more and more often. Word of his antics and nightly party tours got around.

“Anyone who criticizes Maradona is criticizing God”

Even before the cocaine, Maradona fled after two years in the direction of Italy to the SSC Napoli, which was almost relegated the previous season. The poorest club in Italy is buying the most expensive footballer in the world for 13.5 billion lire, just under seven million euros. The pressure of a whole city weighs on the Argentine. And since this city is viewed by the rest of Italy as dirty, inhuman and non-Italian, the burden increases immeasurably. Maradona becomes the savior, the person from whom the whole region draws its self-confidence. To god. The then still young and naive man can really only lose. After scoring his first goal for Napoli, Maradona said, without realizing the ambiguity of this sentence: “It wasn’t Maradona who won the game, but God.” Maradona was so good back then that YouTube videos of his tricks are still popular today. With his body illusions, he lets his career run into the void regardless of which opponent, in training he likes to hold up the ball almost casually eight times in a row with the heel. A trainer once said of Maradona that he was the best in the world because his mind was always superior to everyone. In the 1980s and 1990s, the rustic defenders always realized too late which gaps the Argentine sees, which hooks he hits, which movements he instinctively unwinds. Maradona’s gates are forever.

At the age of 60 Diego Maradona is dead

In 1987 the Argentine won the championship with Naples for the first time in the club’s history – and Maradona is God. “Oh mom / my heart is pounding / because I saw Maradona” roars the entire SSC cabin after the title. The city is number 10 at the feet. All of Naples lives in a state of emergency for two months. At that time it was written on a cemetery wall: “You don’t know what you missed.” The fans shout: “He has redeemed us” or: “Anyone who criticizes Maradona is criticizing God.” A nurse who draws blood from the number 10 then brings the sample to church.

“Which planet are you from?”

Of course, the high-end technician enjoys fame, he basks in it. But he also gets scary. The burden eats him away, he can hardly move freely in Naples. If the “mummy child”, original quote from Maradona’s mother, cannot flee to his family in Argentina, he increasingly takes refuge in the drug swamp. The Argentine cokes and celebrates, to escape the pressure on the football field is no longer enough. He gets used to an unhealthy routine: play on Sundays, party until Wednesday and then sweat it all out. His trainer speaks of a Diego, the dear shy boy and a Maradona, the star, the god who can’t afford to make mistakes. The cocaine now has Maradona under control and Maradona in turn has Diego. The drug is regulated by another power that puts it under its protective shield and uses it: the Camorra. Naples’ powerful mafia supplies Maradona with cocaine and prostitutes and has him in her pocket.

Farewell to the “hand of God” Football legend Diego Maradona is dead

Nevertheless, the high-tech technician reached the high points of his career as a drug addict. In 1986 he won the World Cup in Mexico with the Argentine national team. Here, too, the number 10 feels the pressure of an entire country on his shoulders. In the quarter-finals it is against England and the burden is even heavier: Two years earlier, the two countries fought with arms for the Falkland Islands and Maradona tells off-screen that the “game was like a new war”. He responds to the pressure in his own way: with two of the most famous goals of all time – within four minutes. At the hand of God he says: “It was obvious, it happened very spontaneously. It was the symbolic revenge on the English.” Then, in the 55th minute, he grabs the ball at the center line to start his solo goal of the century. The Argentine commentator shouted into the microphone: “Cosmic dragon, which planet are you from?” This one game symbolizes everything that Maradona stands for, what you love and hate: a little fraud and a lot of genius. Even in the World Cup final, Maradona, the “dirty worker boy who takes on everyone”, withstood the pressure and the FRG is left behind.

Maradona wasn’t a god

Maradona, addicted to cocaine and alcohol, is the best footballer on the planet and won the Uefa Cup in 1989 and another league title in 1990 with Napoli. In 1991 he was only given a suspended sentence for drug possession and was finally suspended for a year after a doping control . “They took his life from him,” says his coach. Nobody from the association is present at the conviction. For the first time, Maradona is alone. He leaves Naples head over heels and says: “When I arrived, 85,000 people had greeted me. But I left in silence.” Maradona responded to the pressure with two of the most famous goals of all time – only four before his solo he hit with the hand of God. “It was symbolic revenge on the English,” he said.

Mafia, Drugs, Hand of God Maradona’s life was like a crime thriller

Because he can no longer play football, he takes refuge deeper in the drug swamp. It goes on like this for a lifetime. Over and over again, he takes months of withdrawal treatment. The world meets an old, nervous Maradona, bloated and with a fat belly. He allegedly gets his cocaine addiction under control, but he keeps relapsing when it comes to alcohol. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the former superstar caused a stir with antics in the stands, where he sometimes insulted opposing fans. Coaching stations at lower-class clubs in Latin America end in nowhere. The world shakes its head. Only a few days ago Maradona was admitted to a clinic again, where a blood clot was discovered in the brain. He returns home after a successful operation. At home, at the place of the family for whom he originally sacrificed himself, the heart of the “mom child” finally stops. Because Maradona was not a god, Maradona was human. With strengths and many weaknesses. A person who really just wanted to stand on the pitch to forget everything else.

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