Was soccer legend Diego Maradona an abuser? Inside the accusations
Diego Maradona, Argentina’s World Cup-winning legend, passed away two weeks ago at the age of sixty. As the world continues grieving over the loss of a football legend, Spanish footballer Paula Dapena refused to take part in a pre-match tribute for the hero. She chose to sit on the ground while the rest of the team was observing a minute’s silence for Maradona.
When asked why, Dapena explained: “As soon as I found out that there would be an act in his memory, I refused to observe the minute’s silence for a rapist, paedophile, and abuser.”
Dapena added that while she sees Maradona as a sportsman with a “spectacular footballing gift”, she refused to pay him tribute since she believes: “to be a player, you have to have values beyond your abilities.”
However, not everyone’s happy with her stance. Dapena’s gesture led to her & her teammates receiving death threats from angry Maradona fans who found it disrespectful to his memory.
Maradona had a godlike status on the football field, but off the field, it was a different story. The list of allegations against the football legend goes back to the start of his career. Many centered around drug abuse & domestic violence.
Maradona’s drug addictions
Maradona’s history of substance abuse is well documented. It seemed to have started after his transfer to Barcelona, but his cocaine affliction escalated when he moved to Naples in 1984.
Maradona was touted as a hero in Italy because of his inspiring wins for the Napoli football club. He was loved by fans and cherished by Napoli. Unfortunately, the admiration only fueled his drug addiction. He was even linked with Naples’ crime syndicates because of his drug problem. He tested positive for cocaine in March 1991, landing him a 15-month ban.
Sexual assault allegations
In 2017, Maradona was accused of sexually harassing Russian journalist Ekaterina Nadolskaya. Nadolskaya alleged Maradona forcibly removed her dress during an interview in a hotel in St. Petersburg, as reported by the British tabloid The Sun.
Recently, images surfaced showing Maradona partying in the company of underage girls. Based on which, an anonymous group accused him of pedophilia. His alleged illegitimate son Santiago Lara also accused Maradona of having a relationship with Santiago’s mother when she was a teenager.
Around six years ago, a clip showing Maradona hitting his then-girlfriend Rocio Oliva was circulating. In the video, he appears to strike Oliva twice while she was asking him to ‘stop’ in Spanish. Maradona didn’t claim that the footage was fake but he denied using violence against Oliva.
According to The Guardian, there was another incident where Maradona “verbally abused Oliva before grabbing her by the neck” during a bust-up on a plane. This incident was witnessed by several co-passengers and as per the report of Daily stars, flight attendants and co-passengers had to step in to calm him down.
Abuse against journalists
In 2013, Maradona was accused of attacking journalists after he arrived at Argentina’s Ezeiza International Airport. A paparazzo told La Red radio Maradona got out of his car and “took some stones from the edge of the highway and started throwing them at reporters’ cars and kicked a photographer’s leg”.
In 1994, Maradona used a compressed air rifle on reporters outside his home in Buenos Aires. Four people suffered minor injuries after he opened fire on them in a fit of rage.
Maradona rose from poverty to become one of the most decorated football players but he was unable to manage the fortune & stardom that fell on him like a ton of bricks. Gaining fame & notoriety doesn’t exempt anyone from their past actions, especially considering the severity of accusations against Maradona. These allegations will continue to muddy his image even in death.
What do you think about the allegation against Maradona? Let us know your thoughts down in the comment section.