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Diego Maradona’s coffin arrives at Argentinian president’s mansion

Diego Maradona’s body arrived at the presidential palace in Argentina today as a grieving country prepares to pay its last respects to the flawed football genius who died on Wednesday at the age of 60.  

As a crowd of weeping fans gathered outside, Maradona’s coffin was lifted out of an ambulance and brought into the palace where it will lie in state in a three-day spectacle of national mourning. 

Others gathered outside the Buenos Aires stadium where Maradona began his career and which has since been renamed in his honour, setting up a makeshift shrine to celebrate Argentina’s legendary number 10. 

His death has also been keenly felt in Europe, especially in Naples where he steered an unfashionable side to two Italian league titles and where fans let off flares in tribute outside the stadium last night. 

In Britain, where he is best remembered for his ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in 1986 – an act of brazen cheating followed only minutes later by one of the greatest goals in football history – a minute’s silence took place ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League match on Wednesday night.  

Regarded by some as the greatest player of all time, Maradona combined awesome footballing ability with a flair for showmanship and a turbulent personal life marked by drug and alcohol problems. 

An autopsy report leaked to Argentine media said he died in his sleep after suffering heart failure, only two weeks after leaving hospital following surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain.   

Medics also detected dilated cardiomyopathy, a medical condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened and enlarged and cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

His nephew Johnny Esposito was the last person to see him alive, according to the report, before doctors with an appointment to see him went to his estate on Wednesday and found him unresponsive.   

Diego Maradona’s coffin is lifted out of an ambulance and taken into the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires in the early hours of this morning after the football legend died on Wednesday at the age of 60 

A fan wearing an Argentina number 10 shirt in tribute to Maradona cries at a gathering outside the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Buenos Aires where the football legend began his career as a young player

A fan wearing an Argentina number 10 shirt in tribute to Maradona cries at a gathering outside the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Buenos Aires where the football legend began his career as a young player 

A crowd of fans - some of them wearing the colours of Argentinian team Boca Juniors where Maradona played for part of his career - gather near the presidential palace last night ahead of Maradona's wake

A crowd of fans – some of them wearing the colours of Argentinian team Boca Juniors where Maradona played for part of his career – gather near the presidential palace last night ahead of Maradona’s wake 

Grieving fans let off flares at the Argentinos Juniors stadium where Maradona began his professional career in the 1970s

Grieving fans let off flares at the Argentinos Juniors stadium where Maradona began his professional career in the 1970s 

Admirers also gathered at the door of the morgue where Maradona's body was taken after he was found dead on Wednesday

Admirers also gathered at the door of the morgue where Maradona’s body was taken after he was found dead on Wednesday

Flowers, posters and other items are left at a makeshift shrine outside the stadium named after Maradona in Buenos Aires

Flowers, posters and other items are left at a makeshift shrine outside the stadium named after Maradona in Buenos Aires 

Maradona's finest hour: Lifting the World Cup after inspiring Argentina to victory in the 1986 tournament which included his infamous 'Hand of God' goal in the quarter-final against England

Maradona’s finest hour: Lifting the World Cup after inspiring Argentina to victory in the 1986 tournament which included his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal in the quarter-final against England  

LAST PICTURE: Maradona's death comes just three weeks after he underwent surgery on a blood clot in his brain (pictured), and less than a month after he turned 60

LAST PICTURE: Maradona’s death comes just three weeks after he underwent surgery on a blood clot in his brain (pictured), and less than a month after he turned 60

Three days of mourning have been declared by the Argentinian president Alberto Fernandez.  

‘You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all,’ the leader tweeted. ‘Thanks for having existed, Diego. We will miss you for a lifetime.’  

Maradona is survived by five children, including his daughters Dalma, 33, and Ganina, 31, by his first and only wife Claudia Villafane, 58, to whom he was married from 1984 to 2004. 

He had his youngest son Diego Fernando with his long-term girlfriend Veronica Ojeda in 2013; while he only acknowledged Diego Junior, 34, and daughter Jana, 23, in the last five years, both born after short flings.  

Paramedics made an unsuccessful attempt to revive him after they arrived at the rented house in the gated residential estate of San Andres north of Buenos Aires he had moved to after leaving hospital following his operation on November 11. 

Public prosecutor John Broyad, speaking outside San Andres as the body was taken to a nearby morgue,said: ‘Diego Armando Maradona died around 12pm local time. The forensic police began their work at 4pm.

‘No signs of any criminality or violence have been detected. The autopsy is being carried out to determine beyond any doubt the cause of death but we can say at this stage that everything is pointing to natural causes.’ 

It is believed that his wake will take place at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, the seat of the country’s national government.  

Maradona, who only turned 60 on October 30, spelled out while he was still alive the message he wanted engraved on his tombstone.

The football legend gave an interview 15 years ago in which he revealed that ‘getting old with his grandchildren would mean a peaceful death’ for him.

Asked what he would say in the cemetery to himself, he said: ‘Thanks for having played football because it’s the sport that gave me most happiness and freedom and it’s like having touched the sky with my hand. Thanks to the ball.

‘Yes, I would put on the tombstone, ‘Thanks to the ball’.’

A hearse from the coroner’s office carrying Maradona’s body was escorted by police to the medical examiner’s office as fans lined the surrounding streets to catch a glimpse of it on Wednesday afternoon.

Thousands of fans later poured onto the streets in Argentina, many at the entrance to the football club in Buenos Aires that Maradona had managed since September last year, Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.

They hung up a banner with the legend’s face painted across it and of his mother Dalma Salvadora Franco. 

Fans wave their shirts in tribute to Maradona last night as they gathered by the Obelisk in the Argentinian capital

Fans wave their shirts in tribute to Maradona last night as they gathered by the Obelisk in the Argentinian capital

Mourners sit in contemplation next to a shrine in Buenos Aires where candles were lit and football shirts left in tribute

Mourners sit in contemplation next to a shrine in Buenos Aires where candles were lit and football shirts left in tribute 

The Boca Juniors stadium was lit up in the team's colours in tribute to Maradona who used to play for the Argentinian team

The Boca Juniors stadium was lit up in the team’s colours in tribute to Maradona who used to play for the Argentinian team 

In Naples, fans let off flares outside the San Paolo stadium where Maradona steered the team to two Italian league titles

In Naples, fans let off flares outside the San Paolo stadium where Maradona steered the team to two Italian league titles 

A woman wearing an Argentina number 10 shirt holds her head in grief as she gathers with other fans to pay tribute in Buenos Aires' La Paternal neighbourhood

A woman wearing an Argentina number 10 shirt holds her head in grief as she gathers with other fans to pay tribute in Buenos Aires’ La Paternal neighbourhood 

Maradona's Hand of God goal - inexplicably missed by the referee - was responsible for England's elimination from the 1986 World Cup at the quarter-final stage

Maradona’s Hand of God goal – inexplicably missed by the referee – was responsible for England’s elimination from the 1986 World Cup at the quarter-final stage 

Maradona at a party with his wife Claudia

Maradona dancing on an Italian TV show in 2005

Maradona at a party with his wife Claudia (left) and dancing on an Italian TV show in 2005 (right)

Maradona has a first dance with his wife Claudia at the Luna Park in Buenos Aires in November 1989. The pair were officially married in 1984 but Maradona wanted to treat his wife to a lavish ceremony after the elder of their two daughters asked to see their wedding photo

Maradona has a first dance with his wife Claudia at the Luna Park in Buenos Aires in November 1989. The pair were officially married in 1984 but Maradona wanted to treat his wife to a lavish ceremony after the elder of their two daughters asked to see their wedding photo

Maradona partying after a fashion show in Uruguay in 1989

Maradona partying after a fashion show in Uruguay in 1989

Thousands of Napoli fans gathered outside the San Paolo Stadium to pay their respects to the player who led them to Champions League glory

Thousands of Napoli fans gathered outside the San Paolo Stadium to pay their respects to the player who led them to Champions League glory

Maradona's screaming celebration at the 1994 World Cup in the United States. He was dismissed soon after the match for testing positive for five variants of the banned stimulant ephedrine

Maradona’s screaming celebration at the 1994 World Cup in the United States. He was dismissed soon after the match for testing positive for five variants of the banned stimulant ephedrine 

Diego Maradona and Claudia Villafane stand in front of the altar during their wedding ceremony at Santisimo Sacramento Church in 1989

Diego Maradona and Claudia Villafane stand in front of the altar during their wedding ceremony at Santisimo Sacramento Church in 1989

Hand of God was ‘revenge for the Falklands’ 

Despite being known as one of the greatest ever to grace the pitch, Maradona’s legacy also includes a moment of infamy – when he handled the ball past England keeper Peter Shilton during the 1986 World Cup quarter final.

Speaking in a documentary released last year, Maradona remained unrepentant – calling the goal ‘symbolic revenge against the English’ for the Falklands War.

Speaking about the match, played four years after the war – which ended with British victory – Maradona said: ‘The hype made it seem liked we were going to play out another war.

‘I knew it was my hand. It wasn’t my plan but the action happened so fast that the linesman didn’t see me putting my hand in. The referee looked at me and he said: ‘Goal.’

‘It was a nice feeling like some sort of symbolic revenge against the English.’

In the Buenos Aires town of Villa Devoto where Maradona grew up, his former neighbours placed flags on their balconies as commentary from his World Cup goals blared from loudspeakers.

Fans gathered to exchange anecdotes about Maradona, with one 60-year-old woman recalling how he would escape from his childhood home.   

‘This was a poor area when Maradona lived here. The streets were filled with rock,’ she said. ‘He never forgot about his roots.’   

A man sitting in the stands at the stadium where Maradona debuted as a 15-year-old for Argentina Juniors on October 20, 1976 recalled being there on the day and said he was ‘a star’.

‘The truth is that football has died,’ he said. ‘The truth is he had the life that he had. No one can censor it. It was difficult being Diego, coming out from where he grew up.’  

Brazilian legend Pele, 80, constantly compared with Maradona in the debate over football’s greatest player, said he hoped they would one day ‘play together in the sky’.  

A minute’s silence was held before Wednesday night’s Champions League games in Europe. 

The fifth of eight children, Maradona was born in Lanús on October 30, 1960.

He was very close to his parents and siblings, a fact that was demonstrated during a 1990 interview during which he produced stacks of phone bills which showed he had spent $15,000 a month calling his family from Europe. 

By the age of 10, Maradona had joined Los Cebollitas – the youth team of Argentinos Juniors, one of the biggest clubs in Argentina – leading them to an incredible 136-game unbeaten streak. 

Nicknamed El Pibe de Oro, the Golden Boy, he mesmerised fans and players with his mastery of the ball, juggling with both feet and charging across the pitch as he dodged and weaved through the world’s best defences. 

‘Everything he was thinking in his head, he made it happen with his feet,’ said Salvatore Bagni, who played with Maradona in Naples.  

Maradona with his wife Claudia and daughters Dalma and Ganina

Maradona with his wife Claudia and daughters Dalma and Ganina

Maradona, left, greets Pope Francis in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, ahead of an inter-religious match for peace in September 2014

Maradona, left, greets Pope Francis in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, ahead of an inter-religious match for peace in September 2014

Soccer legends Diego Maradona (left) and Pele rest on a hammock during a reception in Rio de Janeiro, May 14, 1995.

Soccer legends Diego Maradona (left) and Pele rest on a hammock during a reception in Rio de Janeiro, May 14, 1995.

Maradona with wife Claudia and their daughters Ganina and Dalma in Seville, Spain, in 1992

Maradona with wife Claudia and their daughters Ganina and Dalma in Seville, Spain, in 1992

Maradona made his professional debut for Argentinos Juniors, then moved to Boca Juniors for a year before heading to Barcelona for what was then a world-record fee of £5million.  

In 1984, he moved to Naples where he became a working-class hero, guiding the team to the only two Italian league titles that it has ever won while reputedly consorting with the Italian mafia. 

Argentina’s triumph at the 1986 World Cup was his greatest moment of triumph, but it also provided his greatest moment of notoriety – the ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-final. 

In a politically-charged encounter four years after the Falklands War, Maradona used his fist to flick the ball past England’s Peter Shilton in an act of deception inexplicably missed by the referee. 

‘It was scored a little bit with the head of Diego and a little with the hand of God,’ he said, coining one of the most memorable phrases in football history.  

Just minutes later, he spectacularly tore through England’s defence to score a second goal in what was later declared by FIFA as the greatest goal of the century.   

Maradona helped Argentina beat West Germany in the final and held the trophy aloft at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. 

Four years later, he was back in the final against the same opponents, but this time Argentina lost and by now his career was on the decline and would become overshadowed by drug problems.  

Maradona failed a doping test in 1991 and was banned for 15 months, acknowledging his longtime cocaine addiction. 

In 1994, he failed another test for stimulants and was thrown out of the World Cup in the United States, where his manic scream at the camera after scoring for Argentina was another memorable image of his career. 

Police officers outside Maradona's home on outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday

Police officers outside Maradona’s home on outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday

In 1998 – a year after he had retired from professional football – the icon received a suspended prison sentence of two years and 10 months following an incident in which he shot an air rifle at reporters. 

In retirement, Maradona frequented Boca matches as a raucous one-man cheering section, but his health problems deteriorated and his weight ballooned. 

In 2000, in what doctors said was a brush with death, he was hospitalized in the Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este with a heart pumping at less than half its capacity. Blood and urine samples turned up traces of cocaine.

After another emergency hospitalization in 2004, Maradona was counseled for drug abuse and in September of that year traveled to Cuba where he was visited by his friend, revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.

In Cuba, Maradona took to playing golf and smoking cigars. He frequently praised Castro and Che Guevara who fought with Castro in the Cuban revolution. 

In 2005, he underwent gastric bypass in Colombia, shedding more than 100lbs before appearing as host of a wildly popular Argentine television talk show which featured Pele, Mike Tyson and Hollywood celebrities.  

But the health issues continued for the rest of his life, including treatment for alcohol abuse in 2007 and a series of more recent operations culminating in the blood clot surgery three weeks ago.  

Maradona at home by his swimming pool

Maradona toasting with friends and business associates on a trip to China in 2003

Maradona at home by his swimming pool in the 1980s (left) and toasting with friends and business associates on a trip to China in 2003

Maradona wears a Union Jack t-shirt as he poses with British rock group Queen backstage in the 1980s

Maradona wears a Union Jack t-shirt as he poses with British rock group Queen backstage in the 1980s

Maradona speaking to Hollywood actor Colin Farrell who flew to meet the legendary footballer in Argentina while filming in Paraguay in 2005

Maradona speaking to Hollywood actor Colin Farrell who flew to meet the legendary footballer in Argentina while filming in Paraguay in 2005

A young Maradona plays on the beach with his brothers in Argentina

A young Maradona plays on the beach with his brothers in Argentina 

Maradona boots a football while attending a red carpet event with his wife Claudia (left) and daughters Dalma and Ganina

Maradona boots a football while attending a red carpet event with his wife Claudia (left) and daughters Dalma and Ganina

Maradona with wife Claudia and their daughters in the 1980s

With his mother Dalma, in Buenos Aires in 2011

Maradona with wife Claudia and their daughters in the 1980s (left) and with his mother Dalma, in Buenos Aires in 2011

A young Diego Maradona (centre) of Argentina relaxing with his family on a beach in the 1970s

A young Diego Maradona (centre) of Argentina relaxing with his family on a beach in the 1970s

Maradona also became more outspoken in retirement, sniping frequently at former coaches and players and joining a protest alongside late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez to denounce US president George W. Bush.  

He also had a spell as manager of the Argentina team, but his tactics, selection and attention to detail were all questioned and the team was badly beaten by Germany at the 2010 World Cup. 

In recent years, Maradona, reduced to hobbling by the ravages of his career and lifestyle, had coached in the UAE, Mexico and Argentina without ever hitting the heights of his playing days.  

Victor Hugo Morales, Argentina’s most popular soccer broadcaster, said Maradona will ultimately be remembered for a thrilling style of play that has never been duplicated.

‘He has been one of the great artists of my time. Like great masters of music and painting, he has defied our intellect and enriched the human spirit,’ Morales said. ‘Nobody has thrilled me more and left me in such awe as Diego.’ 

Maradona left hospital on November 11 just eight days after being admitted for the emergency brain surgery.

The footballer was driven away from the private Olivos Clinic as hundreds of fans of photographers tried to get a glimpse of him as he was discharged to his home. That was where he died on Wednesday.  

Police cars are seen outside the house where Diego Maradona was recovering from surgery, in Tigre, on the outskirt of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday

Police cars are seen outside the house where Diego Maradona was recovering from surgery, in Tigre, on the outskirt of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday

An ambulance carrying Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona leaves the clinic where Maradona underwent brain surgery, in Olivos, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina November 11, 2020

An ambulance carrying Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona leaves the clinic where Maradona underwent brain surgery, in Olivos, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina November 11, 2020

People gather to mourn the death of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona outside San Paolo stadium in Naples, Italy, November 25, 2020

People gather to mourn the death of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona outside San Paolo stadium in Naples, Italy, November 25, 2020

People light flares as they gather under a mural depicting soccer legend Diego Maradona, in Naples, Italy, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

People light flares as they gather under a mural depicting soccer legend Diego Maradona, in Naples, Italy, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

A man hangs a Napoli scarf on a fence as people gather to mourn the death of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona outside San Paolo stadium in Naples, Italy, November 25, 2020

A man hangs a Napoli scarf on a fence as people gather to mourn the death of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona outside San Paolo stadium in Naples, Italy, November 25, 2020

A man stands by two candles, one with an image of the Virgin Mary and the other St. Padre Pio, as a mural depicting soccer legend Diego Maradona is seen in background, in Naples, Italy

A man stands by two candles, one with an image of the Virgin Mary and the other St. Padre Pio, as a mural depicting soccer legend Diego Maradona is seen in background, in Naples, Italy

People hang a poster of the late Argentine football star Diego Maradona outside the Argentina's Boca Juniors La Bombonera stadium where people gather to mourn his death in Buenos Aires, on November 25, 2020

People hang a poster of the late Argentine football star Diego Maradona outside the Argentina’s Boca Juniors La Bombonera stadium where people gather to mourn his death in Buenos Aires, on November 25, 2020

Argentine football star Diego Maradona fans sing slogans outside the entrance of Argentina's Boca Juniors La Bombonera stadium where people gather to mourn his death in Buenos Aires, on November 25, 2020

Argentine football star Diego Maradona fans sing slogans outside the entrance of Argentina’s Boca Juniors La Bombonera stadium where people gather to mourn his death in Buenos Aires, on November 25, 2020

TIGRE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 25: Fans of Boca Juniors hold a banner as they gather outside the home of Diego Maradona at San Andres neighbourhood on November 25, 2020 in Tigre, Argentina

TIGRE, ARGENTINA – NOVEMBER 25: Fans of Boca Juniors hold a banner as they gather outside the home of Diego Maradona at San Andres neighbourhood on November 25, 2020 in Tigre, Argentina

Argentine football star Diego Maradona fans sing slogans outside the entrance of Argentina's Boca Juniors La Bombonera stadium where people gather to mourn his death in Buenos Aires, on November 25, 2020

Argentine football star Diego Maradona fans sing slogans outside the entrance of Argentina’s Boca Juniors La Bombonera stadium where people gather to mourn his death in Buenos Aires, on November 25, 2020

A fan of Boca shows a board of Diego Maradona to pay tribute after the former football star died today, at La Bombonera Stadium on Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina

A fan of Boca shows a board of Diego Maradona to pay tribute after the former football star died today, at La Bombonera Stadium on Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fans of Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona gather by the Obelisk to pay homage on the day of his death in Buenos Aires

Fans of Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona gather by the Obelisk to pay homage on the day of his death in Buenos Aires

Soccer fans hold a vigil for Diego Maradona outside the stadium of Argentinos Juniors soccer club, where he started as a professional footballer, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday

Soccer fans hold a vigil for Diego Maradona outside the stadium of Argentinos Juniors soccer club, where he started as a professional footballer, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday

Fans gather to mourn the death of Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona at the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fans gather to mourn the death of Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona at the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fans of Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona gather by the Obelisk to pay homage on the day of his death in Buenos Aires, on November 25

Fans of Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona gather by the Obelisk to pay homage on the day of his death in Buenos Aires, on November 25

Maradona had recently been in hospital for surgery after suffering a bleed on the brain

Maradona had recently been in hospital for surgery after suffering a bleed on the brain 

Maradona pictured at the 2018 World Cup, where he watched Argentina from executive boxes

Maradona pictured at the 2018 World Cup, where he watched Argentina from executive boxes

Maradona’s ‘family XI’ battle for his millions: Footballer’s five known children ‘are likely to feud with his six rumoured offspring’ for a share of his will

By GERARD COUZENS FOR MAILONLINE

Diego Maradona’s death could spark a family feud over his estate as he leaves behind five children he recognised as his and six others he has been linked to.

Before he died one of his daughters joked he could make up a starting eleven with his kids after a 23-year-old Argentinian was named as the latest woman fighting to prove she was his daughter.

Maradona had recognised two sons and three daughters by four different women – including his ex-wife Claudia Villafane and former long-term partner Veronica Ojeda – as his own.

Giannina Maradona, one of the former footballer’s two daughters by Villafane, joked last year after the names of three children said to be his in Cuba were made public: ‘Just three more needed for the team of 11. You can do it!!!’

In October last year a 23-year-old brunette called Magali Gil emerged as the latest possible member of Maradona’s brood.

In October last year a 23-year-old brunette called Magali Gil (pictured) emerged as the latest possible member of Maradona’s brood

Popular Argentinian TV programme Intrusos said she had a young daughter which would have made the former Naples and Barcelona star a grandfather if he was confirmed as her father.

She is understood to have launched legal proceedings in April last year to try to prove her blood link.

Who are Maradona’s recognised children and who are the rumoured offspring?

Recognised children:

  • Diego Junior, 34
  • Jana, 23
  • Dalma, 32
  • Gianinna, 30
  • Diego Fernando, seven

Rumoured offspring:

  • ‘The Cuban trio’ – Joana, Lu and Javielito
  • Magali Gil, 23 
  • Santiago Lara, 19

Journalist Adrian Pallares told Intrusos: ‘Her mother didn’t raise her but her adoptive family, who gave her all their love.

‘The time came when she discovered she didn’t belong to that family and that her father could be Diego Armando Maradona.’

In February the she broke her silence in Argentina to confirm the situation had not moved forward and begged the football legend to agree to a DNA test.

She had already confirmed on Italian TV she had been adopted as a youngster and her birth mum contacted her at the start of 2019 to tell her who her real father was.

Magali told Argentinian journalist Tomas Dente, speaking at the start of the year for the first time in her home nation: ‘Sadly we still haven’t been able to fix a date for the DNA test.

‘I’d like to think that the predisposition Diego’s lawyer Matias Morla spoke about last December when we met is still there so this can be resolved as quickly as possible and in the best way possible.

‘I’m anxious and worried at what’s happening because this is something which is key for me, my identity and my past.

‘I’m trying to stay calm and understand that we’re talking about Diego Maradona who I know has got a packed diary.

‘I’d just like to urge him to realise there’s a person who’s waiting and needs him to be able to resolve my identify and put an end to this search.’

The Magali bombshell first emerged a month after Santiago Lara, who comes from the same Argentinian city of La Plata where Maradona managed Gimnasia y Esgrima, made a renewed TV appeal for the football legend to recognise him as his son.

The Magali bombshell first emerged a month after Santiago Lara (pictured), who comes from the same Argentinian city of La Plata where Maradona managed Gimnasia y Esgrima, made a renewed TV appeal for the football legend to recognise him as his son

The Magali bombshell first emerged a month after Santiago Lara (pictured), who comes from the same Argentinian city of La Plata where Maradona managed Gimnasia y Esgrima, made a renewed TV appeal for the football legend to recognise him as his son

The teenager, whose waitress mother Natalia Garat died aged 23 from lung cancer in 2006 and was raised by her ex-boyfriend Marcelo Lara, spoke for the first time in 2016 of his fight to find out who his real father is.

He said at the time: ‘I’ve been told my real father is supposedly Diego Maradona. My dad is always going to be Marcelo Lara but what I’ve been told is that my real father is supposedly Diego Maradona.

‘I think I look like him, the face, the curls, everything. I look at Marcelo and I know we’re not alike. It’s not easy to wake up in the morning with that feeling.’

‘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. I went running home and asked Marcelo what was going on and he explained everything.

‘He told me my mum was well-known on the modelling circuit when she was younger and he told me he had the feeling I wasn’t his son.

‘He told me a DNA test was asked for but was never forthcoming.’

Maradona’s lawyer Matias Morla said months before the footballer’s death he would assume his responsibilities as Santiago’s father if the blood link was confirmed.

Maradona's lawyer Matias Morla (pictured today) said months before the footballer's death he would assume his responsibilities as Santiago's father if the blood link was confirmed

Maradona’s lawyer Matias Morla (pictured today) said months before the footballer’s death he would assume his responsibilities as Santiago’s father if the blood link was confirmed

Morla has previously been quoted as saying ‘Everyone knows that in Argentina there’s Santiago and another person that people are talking about’, although other media in the South American country have speculated the 11th child that would make up Diego’s football team is a fourth Cuban.

The Cuban trio whose names have already been made public are Joana, Lu and Javielito, born after Maradona moved to the Caribbean island in February 2000 to fight drink and drug addictions.

Mr Morla, who admitted in October 2018 the ex-footballer had been ‘naughty’ in Cuba and confessed: ‘There’s going to be a lot of Maradonas, a lot, even if some people don’t like it’, has confirmed the trio met him during the funeral of Fidel Castro.

Over recent years Maradona had recognised his grown-up son Diego Junior, born from an extra-marital affair with Italian model Cristina Sinagra, and 23-year-old Jana who met her dad for the first time nearly six years ago following a court fight by her mum Valeria Sabalain.

Maradona also had two daughters by his ex-wife, 32-year-old Dalma and 30-year-old Gianinna, and a seven-year-old son called Diego Fernando by former girlfriend Veronica Ojeda.

Several Spanish-language memes went viral after Maradona’s lawyer revealed the three Cuban children.

One said: ‘If you were born between 1980 and 2019 and you have extraordinary footballing skills, contact us. You could be a son of Diego Maradona.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk