Diego Maradona Didn't Die Rich: God of Soccer Left Behind a Fortune Worth Just $100,000

Although Maradona started earning millions of dollars as a teenager, his unhealthy lifestyle choices took a toll on his finances.

Diego Maradona's sad and untimely death on November 25 has sent the entire football world into mourning. Modern football hasn't seen a bigger legend than him and, needless to say, there won't be another one like Maradona. With a title like that, it's quite obvious to expect Maradona commanding a huge net worth even during his last days.

Sadly, his carefree, reckless, and at the same time, lavish lifestyle may have inhibited him from leaving a fortune behind for his family. The legend didn't die penniless but definitely didn't leave behind a fortune that generations from his family could survive on. Maradona easily could have built an empire out of the money he earned as a professional footballer but never really gave it a serious thought.

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Diego Maradona in the stands before the match REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File PhotoREUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

Maradona's worth today could be counted in millions given that he started earning as a teenager through his career as a professional footballer. But Maradona led a life that was quite different, if not extraordinary. From drug habits to womanizing and building up debt, his personal life was very different from the success of his sporting career.

Despite leading Napoli to two Serie A titles against all odds, and captaining Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, Maradona didn't die a rich man. It may come as a surprise but the God of Football reportedly left behind a fortune of only around $100,000, or £75,000. While Maradona earned millions during his career, he lost much of that over the years. And most of it is to be blamed on his bohemian lifestyle.

Maradona started his professional football career at the young age of 15 playing for Argentinos Juniors. Through his career he played for Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys besides representing his country over a span of over 16 years.

Barcelona reportedly paid $7.6 million to sign him and then he went on to make millions playing for Napoli. But most of that money was gone paying taxes to Italian authorities.

Although Maradona started earning millions of dollars as a teenager playing professional football, his unhealthy lifestyle habits took a toll on his finances. The legend had a 20-year dependency on cocaine.

Millions Blown off in Lavish Lifestyle

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona Reuters

The drug abuse had a negative effect on his ability to play and therefore Maradona's career was damaged. And that also took away a lot of his fortune due to the hefty hospital bills and frequent visits to rehabs. Maradona tested positive for cocaine while playing for Napoli in 1991 and left in disgrace. Maradona's deal with Napoli at that time was a salary of $3 million along with up to $10 million in endorsements.

However, he had already lost a lot of his money long before that. In 1981, he moved to Boca Juniors and signed a contract in a $4.01 million (£3 million) transfer but drug addiction and habits of womanizing built up a debt. After playing for Boca Juniors for a year, he transferred clubs again. This time it was Barcelona in Spain for $6.7 million (£5 million), a world record fee at the time. But sadly, his personal life kept weighing too heavy on his bank balance.

According to Express.co.uk, Maradona during his time playing for Napoli between 1984 and 1991 racked up $44.15 million (€37 million) in unpaid taxes. The debt was made public by Italian authorities in 2009, with the majority of the bill made up of $27.44 million (€23 million) in fees and interest. And there's where Maradona lost almost everything.

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona after winning World Cup 1986 YouTube Grab

Over the years, police seized some of Maradona's jewelry in order to pay off the debt, which came to about $50,124 (€42,000), making him almost a poor man.

In a 2016 interview to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra, the then footballer-turned-coach said that he had made all outstanding tax bill payments. However, it is said that he was yet to pay £33 million to Italian authorities, which put his net worth at £100,000 at the time of his death.

However, that's not where all the fortune was lost. A large part of the money also went into paying fines for missing matches due to drug abuse. In 1991 he was fined $70,000 by Italy's soccer tribunal for missing games with Napoli. The club also sued him for tarnishing its reputation due to his drug use.

However, nothing seemed to have an effect on him. His godly status on field made him live life king size till his death.