Diego Maradona Admits Past Drug Use Has Caught Up to Him

By McCarton Ackerman 09/22/14

The Argentinian soccer legend admitted that his cocaine and alcohol abuse hindered his potential while damaging his health.

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Soccer legend Diego Maradona has revealed that he struggled with drug addiction during his playing days and believes that he could have achieved more if he weren’t an addict.

Maradona, who was part of Argentina’s World Cup winning team in 1986, admitted he feels much older than his 53 years due to his former lifestyle. He began using cocaine in the mid-1980s and was addicted until 2004, in addition to suffering from alcoholism.

During that time, he had several very public hospital stints due to his health failing from frequent drug use. He overdosed in 2000 and 2004, and was admitted to a hospital in 2007 for hepatitis and the effects of alcohol abuse. Maradona also underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2005.

"I gave my opponents a big advantage due to my illness. Do you know the player I could have been if I hadn't taken drugs?" he told Argentine channel Tyc Sports. "I am 53 going on 78 because my life hasn't been normal. I’ve lived 80 [years] with the life I’ve gone through."

In a 2007 interview, he said that he hasn’t drunk or done drugs since 2004, and remains sober by all accounts. Although he was seen slurring his words outside of a Buenos Aires restaurant last July, it is not clear whether he was intoxicated at the time.

“For my two daughters, I’m going to continue until the end,” he said in 2007. “I’m alive and I want to keep living."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.