A year ago, on 25.11.20 in the area of 18:00 Israel time, the world was struck by astonishment. Diego Armando Maradona, the Argentine folk idol and one of the greatest footballers ever, died at the age of 60 of a heart attack. New releases stopped, millions of fans around the world went out to pay their last respects and the Argentine government declared three days of mourning. About three weeks earlier, Maradona had undergone brain surgery after a blood clot was found in him. Since that surgery, his medical condition has deteriorated to the point of a heart attack that has made it difficult for him to breathe and has entered a terminal state from which he could not be rescued.
365 days later, the world was filled with tributes in his memory – Napoli released a special shirt edition with his face and even named the stadium after him, Leo Messi dedicated the win to the Copa America in his memory and Barcelona will meet Boca Juniors for a special friendly match between two clubs he played. Among all the graffiti and deeds in his memory, it seems that the Argentine people have not yet digested that he is no longer among the living and wanted to find those responsible for his death, and perhaps probably did. What happened at that time? Here is a first year coverage without Maradona.
The first week: shock, respect and search for culprits
After the initial shock, Maradona’s coffin was placed in the president’s house in Buenos Aires for 24 hours, during which thousands of people came to pay their last respects. As in every incident involving the Argentine, there were riots and clashes with the local police, and even Maradona’s ex, Rossio Oliva, was not allowed to enter the place and burst into tears in front of the cameras. Andre Villas-Boas, the coach of Marseille at the time, who was apparently very excited, said that “FIFA should set aside the number 10 from all the competitions under it”.
The football world also showed him respect, with all the games of the week around the world opening with a minute of applause. Players and coaches praised him and thanked him for everything he did for world football. The most memorable tribute is of course Messi, who celebrated a goal when he revealed his shirt to Maradona in the days when he played for Newell’s Old Boys.
At the same time, Maradona’s lawyer, Matthias Morella, began looking for culprits in his condition and complained to the medical staff: “He was not treated for 12 hours, the ambulance took half an hour to arrive, it is criminal negligence, I will demand an investigation.” Maradona’s personal doctor, Leopoldo Lukwa, was interviewed by the media and said there was no chance of rescuing him: “I feel bad because my friend is dead. I’m not to blame for all this. Promise I did my best to help Diego. “Two days later, large police forces invaded his home and clinic to check if he had poisoned or drugged Maradona before he died.
December – February: Pursuit for Justice
After the grief and mourning, Argentina turned its efforts to finding an answer to Maradona’s death. Prior to his death, he suffered kidney and liver problems, heart failure, neurological deterioration and an addiction to alcohol and drugs that made it difficult for him to recover. Maradona’s former doctor, Dr. Alfred Kia, said he thought the cause of death was “unusual” and said that the past relationship made it easy to commit suicide due to depression. Who gave another stamp to Dr. Kia’s claim.
After they finished inspecting Lukwa’s home, police followed up on the autopsy and raided the office of Maradona’s personal psychiatrist, Augustina Kozakov, on suspicion of involvement in his death. Nothing unusual was found in the raid and the investigation went in search of a new end of the thread.
Between the interrogations and the mourning, there was a very great struggle regarding the inheritance of Maradona, who did not leave an orderly will, among his family. The Argentine was known as a dress chaser and gave birth to eight children along with six different women, only four of whom are known to the public. About a month after his death, a 25-year-old Argentine girl named Alejandra Gil claimed that Maradona was her real father and the court ordered the body of the former footballer to be kept in order to take DNA samples to prove paternity, which turned out to be incorrect.
Meanwhile, more and more “evidence” of the situation Maradona was in before his death began to appear on social media. One of the pieces of evidence was a recording of a private conversation between Lukwa and Kozakov, in which it was stated that 10 minutes before the ambulance arrived at the scene, Maradona was very weak and in critical condition. According to the same recording, the footballer’s eldest daughter, Delma Maradona, blamed Lukwa and Morella for her father’s death and called for justice to be served.
Shortly afterwards, San Isidro police announced that they had summoned for questioning Maradona’s close psychologist in the months before his death, Carlos Diaz, along with Ricardo Elmiron and Dahiana Gisela Madrid who serve as medical nurses, on suspicion of involvement in the incident.
March – June: Moving to deeds
Maradona’s family was relatively quiet on the whole issue of involvement in the death investigation. Beyond the storm that occurred after the recording, no one expressed an opinion on those involved in the matter and only called on the police to expedite matters from time to time. On March 10, 2001, a protest march was organized led by Maradona’s ex-wife, Claudia Vipana, and his other children, calling for justice to be done to Maradona and the perpetrators of the affair. They read that “he is not dead, they killed him” without explicitly saying who was responsible for it, but the assumption is that they meant his medical staff.
After the protest, 20 medical experts gathered to investigate the circumstances of the death and whether it was possible to prevent the chain of events. The findings of the investigation were released in early May, stating that Maradona’s medical condition began to deteriorate 12 hours before his death, during which he became very ill and the medical staff did not diagnose the problem in time to keep him alive. “If they had acted correctly in the days before his death, this would probably have been avoided. The decision to bring him to an isolated house and not leave him in hospital is still unclear to us, when it is also unclear why he was allowed to make his own decisions about his health.”
The experts’ committee’s allegations have been made mainly to Maradona’s medical staff since undergoing the same operation: “The house where he stayed for the last two weeks of his life did not have the minimum conditions required to treat a person in his condition who suffers from a number of medical problems.” According to the report they released, which was spread over 70 pages, it was stated that “Maradona started showing signs of death in the 00:30 area at night. His medical staff misdiagnosed the signs of distress and left his life to chance only. ”They also relied on a recording of physiotherapist Nicholas Truffle, who worked closely with Maradona in his final months and updated his family on his medical condition.
According to Truffle, Maradona could no longer get up from the chair alone following a health edema. The experts had a hard time understanding why the medical staff did not heed all these warnings and tried to make him recover. Despite all the conclusions they reached, they did not explicitly say what led to the death or pointed to causing death by negligence, but gave their medical angle to the matter. All this was enough for the citizens to protest again against the abandonment of their idol and return to the streets.
Nearly three weeks after the report was published, seven members of the medical staff who treated Maradona were arrested on suspicion of premeditated killing. All seven face up to 25 years in prison.
Madrid lawyer Rodolfo Baku told protesters during the arrest that the doctors in charge were the ones who killed Diego, but had nothing to do with his condition: “It could have taken another day or a week, but it was clear where it was going and no one could. Stop it. ” During her interrogation, the nurse said that Maradona refused her treatments: “She was not allowed to approach him because he forbade her, as he forbade the rest of his caregivers. In my shifts with him I asked Peroni to forge me medical data. He refused and let me fill out the reports myself, so I wrote that the patient refused to be examined. “
July – November: Between dedications and new scandals
On 11.7.21, the Argentine national team won the title for the first time in 28 years, which was special because of those whose spirit hovered over the team of Lionel Scaloni. At the end of the tournament, Messi also dedicated this win to Maradona: “Thanks to Diego, I’m sure he believed in us, no matter where he is.”
In early August it was revealed that Alejandra Gil, the woman who claimed Maradona was her father, had performed a DNA test with one of his real daughters and no match was found. At the same time, the tributes to Maradona continued with the start of the season when Napoli held a ceremony in his honor and Boca Juniors launched a new uniform with a tribute to the club legend.
In the last week of October, at the end of which Maradona was due to celebrate his 61st birthday, a variety of tributes were held in honor of the Argentine genius at whose center the Argentine president determined that Maradona’s birthplace in Buenos Aires was a national heritage site.
At the same time, the scandals around him began to re-emerge, when a video of him lying next to a 17-year-old Cuban girl was circulated. She arrived in court in Buenos Aires earlier this week to testify against the late Maradona and his close circle, who she claims were also involved in the affair and pushed Maradona to do so. In addition to those allegations, she added that she was forced to undergo cosmetic surgery despite her lack of consent and being a minor at the time.
Throughout this time, the investigation into Maradona’s death did not stop and even lawyer Morella came to testify at the police station. According to him, the medical staff is the sole culprit in the condition and his treatment was very poor. His last visit with the deceased was several days after the operation, during which Maradona sounded strange: “He spoke like a robot, in a strange, interrupted and very loud voice.” In addition, he also accuses Maradona’s daughters of abusing him because he claims they were complicit in the decision to remove him from the hospital.
As of today, the investigation is still ongoing and the gestures to Maradona do not stop. There is no doubt that football has lost a player who was one of the best the game knew, if not the best of them all. It swept an audience of tens of millions of fans in Argentina, Italy and Spain. He was the reason for those people to watch football and contributed greatly to the popularity of the industry. At the same time, as revealed even after his death, his character as a person was particularly dubious and not one that could serve as a role model. It is not yet clear how Maradona passed away, but according to the evidence presented so far, he did it in his own way.