Football: Diego calls full-time

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

DIEGO MARADONA, serving a 15-month Fifa ban after failing a World Cup drugs test, has said that his playing career is finished.

Close to tears and wearing black at a news conference he called at his first club, Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires, the 33-year-old former Argentinian captain said: 'I'm completely dead, as a man and a player. I don't think I'll be doing any soccer, it doesn't become me.'

Maradona, who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in the US in June, said of the suspension imposed 10 days ago: 'It's totally unfair. There are no words to express what they did to me. I had said that they'd cut my legs away from me. I think they've now cut my entire body away. I don't know where I stand. I can't find myself.'

But Maradona said he would consider a future in football management so he could give players the benefit of his knowledge: 'I will always defend players' rights to the death, because we must not let those who run soccer get the better of us.'