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Maradona finds peace playing golf

January 24, 2004 09:21 IST
Argentine soccer idol Diego Armando Maradona says he has found peace of mind in communist-run Cuba where he has turned to golf for sport.

"I'm not a champion...but I have a lot of fun playing golf," an overweight Maradona said in one of his few public appearances.

The retired 43-year-old star has lived in Cuba for four years recovering from drug abuse that marred a brilliant and turbulent career. He plays golf most days at Havana's only golf course.

"In Cuba I have found the tranquillity I couldn't find anywhere. Cuba has given me tranquillity, and that cannot be bought with all the money in the world," he said.

Maradona, sporting large tattoos on his arms, said he missed his two daughters, his former wife Claudia and his native Argentina, but is happy living in Cuba.

Wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sneakers, he was speaking to reporters late on Thursday at an event honoring outstanding Latin American sports figures.

The soccer legend is regarded as one of the finest players ever, leading Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup, where he scored celebrated goals against England.

Maradona said he would attend a farewell game for retiring Colombian soccer player Carlos Valderrama in Barranquilla, Colombia on Feb. 1, but he won't play.

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