Maradona reveals his fight against drugs

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The Independent Online
Diego Maradona outlined his struggle with cocaine addiction in a magazine interview, saying he was speaking out against drugs "for the kids".

"I was, I am and I always will be a drug addict," Maradona said in Gente, in which he discusses his drug problem for the first time. "You can't just get up and say: 'I was an addict'," he said. "You have to wake up and say: 'Today, I'm going to continue my fight against the hell of drugs'. Only that way can you fight and try to recover."

The 35-year-old player was arrested in 1991 for drug possession and distribution and sentenced to court-supervised treatment. "I suffered a lot because of drugs, much more than anyone could believe, and I'm going to explain my suffering to the young people," said Maradona, who underwent two 15- month playing suspensions, in 1991 and 1994, after positive drug tests.

Maradona, who now plays for Boca Juniors in Argentina, said that he began using cocaine in 1982, at the age of 22, while playing in Europe. "My family suffered many painful experiences," he told the magazine. He related how his daughter, Gianina, once asked him for a glass of water while he was lying on a bed and could not reach it.

"I couldn't get up. I felt like I was stuck to the mattress. And my hand shook," he said. "She asked me: 'Well, Daddy, won't you get me the water?' and I just couldn't do it. The cocaine had numbed me completely."