What Killed Maradona? (2020)

‘What Killed Maradona?’ (2020) – his super power

From what I read about Diego Maradona when he was alive, it was not easy to get him or his inner circle to talk about the unsavory side of his life. Drugs, alcohol, gangsters, infidelities, children that he refused to acknowledge, more drugs… To reveal the truth would mean falling out of favor and losing access to the man, his money, and his celebrity. So it isn’t surprising that those who worked closely with him did not come forward until this documentary, pretty much just a month after he died.

In under an hour, the film puts a half-hearted positive spin on Maradona’s life. To justify his excesses, the docu emphasizes that the game back then was brutal. The only way opponents could neutralize Maradona was to injure him and take him out of the game. The injuries resulted in life-long physical pain. And mentally, the celebrity and money were too difficult to handle for a boy who grew up in a shanty town. Drugs and alcohol numbed his physical and emotional pain. He just wanted to be loved. And his body was so exceptional, he was able to keep playing despite drowning himself in cocaine and booze every weekend.

Considering how much fun Diego had, I can’t be sympathetic. What Killed Maradona? was commissioned for UK viewing, perhaps partially because conspiracy theorists claimed that Maradona died because of medical mistakes. Hey, maybe instead of dying at 60, he could have lived to 62. 😁 But you could have titled the film, “What didn’t kill Maradona?” because after a life of steroids, cocaine, alcohol, and obesity, he probably should have been dead at 45.

Having watched 4 other Maradona productions, plus the Bilardo series, plus having read Jimmy Burns 1996 biography, I didn’t learn anything new from this quickie. And for me, it’s just a little too biased in the guy’s favor. Why try to explain away his excesses and lack of morals? Without those traits, would there be so many football films about him? In today’s parlance, those traits were his super power. Don Garber would have welcomed Maradona to MLS with open arms and a big flowing cape. 😁


  • Maradona inner circle
    • Jon Smith, Maradona’s agent 1987-1991
    • Fernando Signorini, Maradona’s Personal Trainer
    • Guillermo Blanco, Maradona Press Officer
    • Giuseppe Bruscolotti, Maradon’as teammate at Napoli
  • Journalists
    • Guillem Balague, Football Journalist and biographer
    • Jimmy Burns, author of “Maradona: The Hand of God” 1996
  • Health Professionals
    • Prof John Brewer, Head of Human Performance, Football Association 1990
    • Dr Pippa Grange, FA Psychologist 2017-2019
    • Prof Sanjay Sharma, Prof of Sports cardiology

6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6