Was Diego Maradona connected to the mafia? How cocaine, women and partying in Napoli led to fall from grace
Diego Maradona had his fair share of bouquets and brickbats in his illustrious career. The Argentinian football legend died aged 65 on Wednesday due to a cardiac arrest. It isn't a surprise that Maradona was worshipped as a hero and a god in his playing days. And for those who followed the superstar closely, he had enough controversy to go with all the glory he achieved on the field. One of the storylines that have been a regular point of discussion is his rumored ties with the mafia during his seven years with Napoli.
Maradona was presented as a Napoli player in 1984 that saw him reach the peak of his success. He quickly became an adored star among the club's fans and that wasn't all. The mafia sat up and took notice and according to Asif Kapadia's 'Diego Maradona' the 2019 sports documentary, it was revealed that some of the most powerful men in Naples had a close relationship with the Argentine superstar. The mafia supposedly supplied him with drugs and girls.
According to The Sportsman, Maradona was said to have admitted to the use of drugs as well. “Sunday to Wednesday I was partying on cocaine. I would come home high on drugs,” he admitted. According to a New York Post feature by Hardeep Phull, which was based on Kapadia's controversial documentary, the Camorra — a notorious and deadly mafia crew — offered Maradona protection, and also mollycoddled his taste for partying, hard drugs, and women.
The Daily Star wrote that Maradona was regularly photographed alongside powerful drug personalities and their families. It even added he would receive a Rolex each time he showed up at one of their events. He was friends with the Giuliano mafia clan and would hang out with brothers Luigi and Carmine “The Lion”.
"It was a mad, epic, operatic story condensed in Naples," says Kapadia. "There were drug problems, women, mafia,” he added. Maradona left Napoli in a sorry and disgraceful state after allegations of him using drugs in 1990. After being banned for three years for cocaine use, he fell from grace when he failed a drugs test at the 1994 World Cup. According to Daily Mail, it was just that Maradona's mafia ties were a key factor in his downfall.
Carmine Giuliano seemed to have said: "Any problem you have is also my problem," except, when Maradona found himself in trouble, the mafia, that generally prefers to work in the shadows, turned their back on Napoli's superstar when he landed himself in soup with the authorities.
These incidents now just add to the life and times of the late GOAT.