Diego Maradona: Argentina football icon’s off-pitch politics

Publishedduration1 hour agoshareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightReutersimage captionMaradona had a tattoo of the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whom he often referred to as his "second father", on his leg

He was widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, but Diego Maradona was also influential beyond the realm of football.

He cultivated relations with some of Latin America's most prominent and controversial left-wing leaders, including Cuba's Fidel Castro, Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and Bolivia's Evo Morales.

The late Cuban leader was a close friend, so close that Maradona had Fidel Castro's face tattooed on his leg; coincidentally, both men died on the same day, 25 November, four years apart.

Their relationship deepened when the footballer settled in Cuba for a few years to recover from his drug addiction.

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Maradona said that Castro often called him in the mornings to talk about politics and sports and to encourage him in his recovery. "Fidel was like my second father," said Maradona, who last visited Castro three years before he died in 2016.

"Diego is a great friend and very noble too. There is also no doubt that he is a wonderful athlete and has maintained a friendship with Cuba without any material gain for himself," Castro once said of the football player.

The Argentine star dedicated his autobiography to, among other people, Castro.

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