Diego Maradona Drugs and scandals

After the 1986 World Cup victory Maradona was the best player in the world

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Much of Maradona’s career was tarnished by his off the field activities and there were several cases of this during his spell at Napoli.

Diego Maradona playing for Boca Juniors
Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona
Prince of Naples
Drugs and scandals
Football’s Greatest Players

It was known that he was a regular user of cocaine and he was fined by Napoli for missing games, though the cause was explained away as stress.

He also faced a backlash from the public over an alleged ‘illegitimate son’ he fathered with a local woman and it was rumoured that he had a close relationship with the Camorra, an underground criminal organisation in Naples.

However, despite all his problems off the field, Maradona left Napoli a hero. He had to serve a fifteen months drug ban but most of Europe’s big clubs still wanted him on their books.

He signed for Sevilla in 1992 and as a tribute to Maradona, Napoli officially retired the number 10 shirt which he had worn with such distinction for the past seven seasons.

Another World Cup Final

For the World Cup in 1990, Maradona was the captain of the Argentina side. Argentina progressed through the group phase and knocked out Brazil in the second round with a 1-0 victory.

In the quarter finals they were held to goalless draw by Yugoslavia and the match had to be decided by penalties.

“ It wasn’t the hand of God. It was the hand of a rascal. God had nothing to do with it… That day, Maradona was diminished in my eyes forever. ” Bobby Robson

Maradona missed his spot kick but Argentina went on to win the shootout anyway. Another penalty shootout was needed in the semi finals after a 1-1 draw with the tournament hosts Italy.

This time Maradona scored his penalty and the side progressed to their second successive World Cup Final.

Unfortunately for Maradona and his team, they were unable to retain the trophy as they lost to West Germany 1-0 in a very poor game.

Disgrace at USA 94

Maradona spent a season at Sevilla before moving to Newells Old Boys for a short time. He moved back to Boca Juniors in 1995 to finish his playing career in front of his adoring public.

His final opportunity to shine on the biggest stage came in the World Cup in 1994.

Maradona was again the captain and the side had some outstanding younger players such as Gabriel Batistuta and Diego Simeone. Led by Maradona, they had a real chance of going far in the tournament again.

Maradona scored in the first group game against Greece and celebrated by shouting down a TV camera. His eyes bulging and the intense look on his face led to him being selected for a random drugs test.

Unsurprisingly to all that saw that goal celebration, Maradona failed the drugs teat and was sent home by FIFA. His final chance of glory had been scuppered by his inability to conform and stay within the laws of the game.

Nevertheless, he is remembered as one of the greatest and most exciting footballers of all time.

Diego Maradona
Prince of Naples
Drugs and scandals
Football’s Greatest Players