An Argentine court has ruled that the body of 1986 World Cup winner Diego Armando Maradona “must be conserved” in order to get his DNA, which may still be needed in multiple outstanding paternity lawsuits, according to reports.
Maradona, 60, suffered a fata heart attack last month. The Argentine soccer legend was already buried shortly after his passing outside Buenos Aires in a plot near his late parents, but the court says he cannot be cremated until a later date.
The former Napoli forward left behind five recognized children and six with filiation requests, the New York Post reported. The six children with filiation requests are part of a complex inheritance process in Argentina.
The late Boca Juniors star left no will for an estate that is expected to be worth as much as $75 million, and includes physical goods like Maradona’s sports cars, as well as the rights to his life story, the New York Daily News reports. The legal proceedings could last a very long time, according to experts.
“I predict that the inheritance process will be a mess,” attorney Elias Kier Joffe told the BBC. “I suspect it will take some time to sort out.”
Under Argentine law, if a person has no spouse, their children receive equal shares of the person’s estate, the Daily News reported.
The controversial soccer figure was born into poverty in the shantytowns outside Buenos Aires. When he was 8 years old, a scout from the local team Estrella Roja signed him and by the time he was 15, he played for the major club Argentinos Juniors.
Maradona later signed with major Argentine club Boca Juniors before going to Europe, where he played for Barcelona in Spain’s La Liga. After two unsuccessful seasons at Barcelona, he transferred to Napoli in Italy’s Serie A, where he helped the Southern Italian club win two titles.
During the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, he helped Argentina win their second trophy.
In 1990, he brought his country back to the World Cup finals but they lost to West Germany.
Maradona became a controversial figure in 1992 when he faced a 15-month ban from soccer after testing positive for cocaine use.
By the 1994 World Cup, Maradona fought to return to the Argentina national team but later he failed a drug test and was kicked out of the tournament.
He retired from soccer in 1997 and returned to his favorite team, Boca Juniors.
In 2010, Maradona coached the Argentina national soccer team in South Africa. Between 2018 and 2019, he coached Mexican second division side Dorados, his time with the team was documented in the Netflix series “Maradona in Mexico.”
Following Maradona's passing, the Italian city of Naples and the Argentine city of Buenos Aries essentially shut down to mourn the beloved but controversial sports figure. Soccer teams around the world mourned his death and each paid a moment of silence before a game in the days following his sudden death.