Madrid police talk to Maradona after altercation at hotel
MADRID (AP) It didn’t take long for Diego Maradona to start making headlines on his short trip to Europe.
Two days after his arrival, police were called on Wednesday to investigate an altercation involving Maradona and his girlfriend at a hotel in Madrid, the latest controversy involving the former Argentina great.
Officers were dispatched after a call from the hotel, but found no evidence of any serious disturbance after talking to Maradona and his girlfriend, Rocio Oliva. They said neither Maradona nor Oliva showed signs of having been involved in a confrontation, and neither wanted to make a formal complaint.
”I want to inform that I am in Madrid enjoying my family, and waiting for Napoli to play in the Champions League,” Maradona said in a statement posted on his Facebook account. ”My lawyer Matias Morla contacted the Spanish authorities. There are no complaints and nobody was able to explain to me the reason for this media show. I’m having a great time, let them tell their stories.”
The 56-year-old Maradona is in the Spanish capital with his girlfriend to watch former club Napoli play Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League. He is a guest of Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis and was expected to give a pep talk to the players ahead of Wednesday’s match.
Napoli’s players are staying at the same hotel as Maradona.
”Nothing happened,” Morla told radio La Red in Argentina. ”There was no violence, no complaint. There was no alcohol or drugs either. It was just a private discussion.”
He said it was made a big deal out of it because ”Maradona doesn’t have a private life.”
”It was a normal discussion and she called to ask for another room, but a yell was heard,” Morla said. ”The police were called and a show started.”
Morla said the police asked if Maradona and Oliva wanted to make a formal complaint, and left after the couple said they didn’t.
The lawyer said he ”received calls from FIFA, Napoli’s president, everyone was worried.”
Authorities did not say if the call about the altercation came from one of the guests or from hotel employees. Spanish media said police were called in after a ”strong argument” involving guests at the hotel.
It wasn’t clear if police talked to Maradona in his room or somewhere else in the hotel.
Spanish media on Tuesday released a video of Maradona threatening a reporter who tried to talk to him at the hotel in Madrid.
After the reporter said that he was struck by the former player as he passed by, Maradona came back and said, ”I didn’t hit you, if I hit you, you will lose your nose.”
”Know that if I fight you one-on-one, I’ll destroy you,” Maradona is heard telling the reporter.
In the discussion that lasted several seconds outside an elevator, Maradona said all he wanted to do was ”eat in peace,” and that the reporter was not welcomed because he was not a guest at the hotel.
The outspoken former Argentina great has been involved in a long list of controversies, both on and off the field. His tumultuous personal life is often a target for local media in Argentina.
In 2014, he slapped a journalist in the face and called him an ”idiot” outside a theater in Buenos Aires. Ten years earlier, Maradona fired an air gun at reporters and was given a two-year suspended sentence.
Maradona, who led Argentina to the World Cup title in 1986, was banished from the 1994 World Cup for doping after testing positive for five types of stimulants and diet pills. In 1991, he was suspended for 15 months for testing positive for cocaine while playing for Napoli.
Associated Press writer Vicente Panetta in Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributed to this report.
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