Diego Maradona, the long-time heart and soul of Argentine soccer, is apparently buried without one of those things. After his November 2020 death, the soccer star was reportedly buried without his heart, according to a new book about his health written by an Argentine doctor and journalist.
In his unreleased book, Nelson Castro reportedly claims that Maradona’s heart was removed prior to his burial to stop soccer fans from raiding his grave and stealing it.
Castro appeared on Argentine television to promote the book this week—‘La salud de Diego: la verdadera historia’ (Diego’s health: The True Story)—and made the startling claim about an alleged plan to retrieve Maradona’s heart.
“There was a group of [fans of the Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata team] that planned to break in and extract his heart,” said Castro. “It was detected that this was going to happen so his heart was removed.”
He said that beyond saving Maradona’s heart from being robbed, it was also very important to remove it to determine the cause of his death. He did not give additional information about the intended thieves or their plan during the interview.
After one of the most impressive playing careers in history, Maradona transitioned into coaching for the Argentine national team, and other clubs in Argentina and abroad. The final team Maradona coached was Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, whose fans reportedly planned to steal his heart, based just outside of the capital of Buenos Aires.
But Maradona’s illustrious soccer career was mired with scandal, and his issues with substance abuse have been well documented.
“Others would have died a long time before,” said Castro. “Unfortunately, he had an addictive component to everything that was destructive for him. Maradona was addicted to everything.”
The author went into vivid detail about Maradona's heart in the interview, claiming that it weighed half a kilo, nearly twice the weight of a typical male heart.
“Even though he had a sportsman's heart, which is a big heart, it was big because of something else. Not only because he was an athlete but because of the heart failure he had,” he continued.
The odd story of the plan to steal Maradona's heart comes as the deceased soccer player faces much more damning allegations.
Mavys Álvarez, now 37 and originally from Cuba, recently told Argentine authorities that she had been sex trafficked and abused as a teenager by Maradona when he was around 40 years old.
Álvarez alleged on November 19 to local media that she'd met Maradona as a 16-year-old high school student in Cuba in 2000, and began a sexual relationship with him and quickly was living with him. During their time together, he hid her from her mother and raped her, she alleged.
“Maradona covered my mouth so I wouldn't scream, so I wouldn't say anything and he abused me. My mother came to see me that day at the house where we were in Havana and Diego did not want to open the door for her. My mom knocked and he didn't open it. He raped me,” Álvarez told Infobae.
Maradona then allegedly had help from Fidel Castro to smuggle her from Cuba to Argentina while underage. Once she arrived in Argentina, Maradona wouldn't allow her to leave the hotel.
“I did not leave the hotel. I was locked up practically the entire time. I was kidnapped,” she said.
She said that while in Argentina, Maradona forced her to undergo breast enhancement surgery even though she was only 17, and did not have approval from her parents, which made the procedure illegal.
Álvarez said that her recent visit to denounce Maradona to local authorities was the first time she'd returned to the South American nation since she was trafficked in 2001. She also provided several photographs that purportedly showed her as a teen with Maradona in both Cuba and Argentina.