Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joana Mihajlovska, Agency: Newsflash
Diego Maradona’s lifelong friend has claimed that the football legend decided to die because he was tired of life and wanted to join his deceased parents.
Stefano Ceci, 47, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that he met Maradona in Cuba over 20 years ago when the World Cup winner was receiving treatment for drug addiction.
The Italian man reportedly waited for Maradona at his doorstep hoping to connect with him for several days before a member of football legend’s entourage took mercy on him and introduced him.
Ceci and Maradona forged a special bond that lasted 20 years as the two shared many birthdays, celebrations, and experiences together.
Ceci was also the European contact for several business operations and remained at Maradona’s side when he was a club manager in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
During his conversation with the newspaper La Repubblica, Ceci said: “I can say one thing for certain, Diego allowed himself to be taken. He was tired of living. He was depressed.
“The lockdown and all the restrictions due to the pandemic was the final straw. A year ago he told me ‘Tanito, I am tired, I am going to my mum and dad. I only have a little bit of time left’.” (https://bit.ly/3705uVc)
Tanito was the nickname given to Ceci as ‘tano’ is the local term for Italian people in Argentina.
Maradona’s mum died from heart problems aged 82 in 2011. His father passed away aged 87 from heart and breathing issues in 2015.
Ceci added: “His death was decided. Diego wanted it. If he wanted something, there was no way of contradicting him.”
He went on to say Maradona was in good shape and often played football or padel with people up to 20 years younger than him while they worked together in UAE two years before his death.
However, Maradona’s physical state took a turn for the worst when he realised he was losing his then-girlfriend Rocio Oliva. The couple was reported to have split in 2018.
Ceci said Maradona was also surrounded by family chaos which kept him from finding peace in his life, adding: “Diego died at 15 years old when he became Maradona.”
Despite the larger-than-life persona often depicted by Maradona’s image, Ceci said he was a “fragile and humble” man.
The football legend died of a heart attack in his home in the city of Tigre located in the Argentine province of Buenos Aires on 25th November.
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