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I was wasting away – Maradona ready to lead Dorados after off-field issues

Diego Maradona

Culiacan (Mexico), September 11: Diego Maradona said he was "wasting away" as he discussed his past off-field issues after being introduced as Dorados head coach.

Argentinian great and 1986 World Cup winner Maradona fronted the media for the first time on Monday, having replaced Francisco Gomez last week.

Former Napoli and Barcelona star Maradona – who also coached Argentina at the 2010 World Cup – has previously struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.

Talking about his problems with substance abuse, the 57-year-old said: "I want to give Dorados what I lost when I was sick.

"Today I want to see the sun and I want to go to sleep at night. Before, I didn't go to sleep and I didn't even know what a pillow was. That's why I accepted the offer from Dorados."

"I'm taking on this responsibility as if it were a new child," Maradona continued. "Ever since I kicked my illness 15 years ago, I was wasting away. I want to explain to you that when I was using I was falling apart.

"It was a step backwards and a footballer always has to go forward. That all stopped thanks to my daughters.

"I was left without a cent, I went back to work, my youngest daughter, who was four, convinced me, she said I had experienced things with Dalma and not with her. When I was in a coma and she touched my bedsheet to wake me up.

"Then I came out, and like everybody we are judged and we think we hold the truth, I wonder how many people there are here who have done worse things than us and they have not made the papers. I am here to work.

"I am here to give my heart like I did in Fujairah, where I drove 300 kilometres a day to work. When you put down that the club has no titles, make sure you put in the promotion."

Dorados – formed in 2003 – find themselves joint-bottom of the table in the 15-team league following three losses and three draws in the opening six matches.

Maradona, who last coached Al Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, added: "It is up to us to carry an elephant on our shoulders and that is not easy. I do not hide, I don't kill and I don't lie."

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    Story first published: Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 7:00 [IST]
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