DIEGO MARADONA revealed his wish for ‘one more day’ with his mother in his heartbreaking final interview.
At the age of 60, the Argentina legend died on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack.
Diego Maradona with his parents, Dona Tota and Diego Snr, in 1980Credit: Rex Features
Maradona had undergone brain surgery just weeks earlier and was thought to be on the road to recovery.
The news of his passing has heralded an outpouring of emotion and tributes for the Napoli and Boca Juniors hero.
And it was his mother, Dona Tota, who featured most highly in Maradona’s thoughts following her death in 2011.
In a remarkable interview with Argentina outlet Clarin on his 60th birthday, he stated: “Football gave me everything I have, more than I ever imagined.
“And if I hadn’t had that addiction, I could have played a lot more.
“But today, that is the past. I am fine and what I regret the most is not having my parents.
I know that from heaven she is proud of me and that she was very happy.
“I always make that wish, one more day with Tota.
“But I know that from heaven she is proud of me and that she was very happy.”
Maradona spoke of his hopes for Argentina and a vaccine for coronavirus in the interview, placing his faith in Russian leader Vladimir Putin to help end the pandemic.
The virus had claimed the life of the star’s brother-in-law, Raul Machuca, in August.
He also expressed his empathy for Lionel Messi in his contract saga with Barcelona, a situation he felt he could relate to from his time with the club.
Maradona noted: “I knew this was going to end badly and I thought Leo was leaving.
Maradona gave his opinion on Lionel Messi’s Barcelona situation just days before his deathCredit: 2010 AFP
The South American legend recalled his emotional unveiling as Gimnasia boss last yearCredit: AFP or licensors
“It happened to me too. Barcelona is not an easy club and he has been there for many years and he was not treated as he deserved.
“He gave them everything, he took them to the top and one day he wanted to leave for a change of scenery and they said no.
“What happens is that slamming the door is not easy, there is a contract, a very big club, people who love you.”
The Argentine’s final role in football came as the manager of top-flight side Gimnasia de La Plata.
And he recalled the outpouring of ‘love’ he felt in charge of the side, with Maradona famously wiping away the tears when unveiled as the club’s coach.
The iconic midfielder said: “I am going to be eternally grateful to the people.
“Every day they surprise me, I will never forget what I experienced in this return to Argentine football. It exceeded what I could imagine.
“Because I was out for a long time and sometimes one wonders if people will still love me, if they will continue to feel the same.
“When I entered the field in Gimnasia on the day of my presentation, I felt a love with the people that is never going to end.”
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