Diego Maradona had an eventful life — both professional and personal. In fact, much like his professional life, his personal life would often make headlines in gossip magazines, be it for his bohemian lifestyle, his innumerable girlfriends and womanizing habits or the alleged illegitimate children he had fathered.
To put it in simple words, Maradona was football's archetypical troubled genius whose life and career scaled the most dazzling heights and at the same time also plumbed the darkest depths. Maradona's place in football's pantheon is not in doubt but Argentina's favorite son, who battled alcohol and drug addiction and obesity, leaves behind a complicated personal and familial legacy.
Star Husband and Father
Maradona is said to have been staying in a house close to the residence of his daughters after being discharged from the hospital two weeks prior to his death. He is survived by his longtime partner, Veronica Ojeda, two daughters, two sons, and his former wife, Claudia Villafane. But that is just what is official.
Over the years, the footballing legend has been photographed with numerous women, with many claiming to be his partner or girlfriend, while many have even accused him of fathering their children. With fame comes money and with money comes women. This to a great extent holds true for Maradona. As Madarona grew in popularity for his magical skills on field, he started commanding a huge fan following, with women occupying a major place in his life.
Born to a devout Catholic family, Maradona grew up in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown just south of capital Buenos Aries. His mother had wanted him to become an accountant but he went on to become a footballer that in later years changed the entire fortune of the family.
Poverty became a thing of the past and Maradona became a cult figure in his homeland. But that also marked the beginning of a troubled personal life. Maradona fell in love at a young age with Claudia Villafañe, who he wed on November 7, 1984 in Buenos Aires. Villafañe was his first and only wife and they were married for 20 years till they divorced in 2004.
That said, the pair maintained good terms even after that and would also occasionally holiday together. Maradona has two daughters with Villafañe — Dalma Nerea (born in April 1987) and Gianinna Dinorah (born in May 1989).
Maradona and His Children
In these 20 years of marriage with Villafañe, several women came in Maradona's life, some of them went on to make headlines. In fact, the footballer also fathered a few children with some of them although he kept denying fatherhood other than with his former wife.
Finally, in 2019, Maradona accepted that he was the official father of eight children. He has since recognized Diego Junior and Jana as his children after court battles with their mothers. Besides, Maradona also has another child from his relationship with Ojeda, Diego Fernando.
Most of Maradona's romances were at the peak of his career during his days with Naples. His dazzling play transformed the club from a poor, much-mocked city to making them winners of their only two Serie A titles. In these whirlwind seven years, he fathered an illegitimate child, made friends with the local mafia and enemies of the tax collectors. He also fell deep into cocaine addiction.
However, Maradona's romances didn't stop even after he quit professional football and turned coach. Prior to last year's announcement, teenager Santiago Lara made an appeal to Maradona on television to recognize him as his son.
"I found out after I went past a newspaper stand near my house aged 13 and saw a magazine front cover with Maradona's face on it and mine pixellated underneath. I was left in a state of shock because I didn't know what I was doing in the magazine," Santiago Lara had said.
Although many of his affairs remained a open secret throughout his career, Maradona kept denying most of them. Things started changing only last year when the footballer is believed to have traveled to Havana to take paternity tests. These three children have been identified as Joana, Lu and Javielito after he accepted paternity of them.
They were born after Maradona shifted to Cuba in February 2000 to fight drug addictions. The three children met him for the first time at Fidel Castro's funeral, exactly four years ago on November 25, 2016.
In fact, his younger daughter Giannina, who was previously married to Argentine star Sergio Aguero, had once remarked: "Just three more needed for the team of 11. You can do it!!!"