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  • Argentine soccer player Diego Armando Maradona with Fidel Castro in 2005.

    Argentine soccer player Diego Armando Maradona with Fidel Castro in 2005. | Photo: AFP

Published 26 November 2016

The Cuban leader transformed the life of one of the most famous soccer players in the world, Diego Armando Maradona.

Argentine former soccer player Diego Maradona said Saturday the death of the Cuban leader Fidel Castro gave him profound sorrow since he considered the revolutionary as his "second father," and he played a crucial role in his drug rehabilitation.

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Maradona said this was the biggest pain he had suffered, after the death of his own parents. 

"I received a call from Buenos Aires, and it was a very shocking thing and I cried because Fidel was like my second father," said Maradona. 

"I lived in Cuba for four years and Fidel called me at 2 a.m. to talk about politics or sports, or whatever was happening in the world, and I was willing to talk," said Maradona to TyC Sports.

Maradona also said Fidel played an important role in his fight against drug abuse. 

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"Cuba opened so many doors for me when my country closed them on me, with many clinics that wouldn't accept me," said Maradona.

Maradona moved from Argentina to Cuba in 2000 to treat his addiction to drugs after a crisis in Uruguay that had him on the verge of death

"Fidel opened the doors of Cuba to me and thank God I am rehabilitated today. I get up every day and the disease is behind me," said Maradona.

"I'm very thankful for Fidel, for talking to me, for explaining the bad things that drugs did to me, and the bad things I was doing. And I listened to him and did very well," said Maradona.

The former soccer star said he will travel to Havana to say goodbye to Fidel and join Fidel's brother Raul, the Cuban president, as well as "the Cuban people, who gave me so much."  ​

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