A Maltese doctor has opened up about an eye-opening experience he had back in the early 1990s where he had the “dubious privilege” of working with one of the greatest footballers ever.
Anthony Buttigieg had travelled to Italy in 1991 to gain some work experience in sports medicine at the Instituto dello Scienza dello Sport in Rome. Working under Professor Antonio dal Monte, his senior decided to bring the young Maltese doctor along with him to assist with a very important client.
“For some reason, my professor took a liking to me, and whilst he closed the facility to everyone but his closest assistants he invited me to assist him in conditioning Diego Maradona for the coming football season,” Buttigieg said.
However, working with the legendary Maradona, Buttigieg was exposed to his personal extravagant lifestyle.
“I say the dubious privilege, not because of his undoubted football genius, but because of his very evident reliance on illicit drugs and his manipulation by the parasites that fed on his naivety.”
“It taught me one thing,” he continued. “Excellence and genius in a person does not mean they are invulnerable. It means they need the support of those less flamboyant, possibly less brilliant, but definitely far more steady and loyal to fully express and develop their ability.”
Buttigieg learnt an important lesson about talent and drug use in his one month work experience in Italy.
“Society is made up of both visible and invisible support,” he ended. “We all have our function in life and should be proud of it. RIP Diego Maradona, you taught me a very important life lesson.”
Maradona is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time. Larger than life both on and off the pitch, and recently manager of Argentina, he is most famously remembered for his controversial Hand of God goal in the 1986 World Cup. Aside from his illustrious football career, including an incredibly successful stint at SSC Napoli in the 80’s, his ongoing battle with drugs became a major talking point whenever Maradona was mentioned.
It was announced yesterday that he died from a cardiac arrest.