Juan Carlos Unzue, the former Barcelona coaching staff under Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola, and Luis Enrique talked about one of the most incredible stories of Diego Maradona.
After serving a 15-month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine, Maradona left Napoli in disgrace in 1992. Failing to appropriately patch-up his dodgy relationship with the men at the helm and new manager Claudio Ranieri meant that an end to Maradona’s love story in Naples was close. Before that, he was a World Cup winning Demi-God in Napoli. He lead them to two Serie A and several domestic titles.
In the summer of 1992, the World Cup winner was struggling to find a new club for himself, and many saw him becoming a liability rather than a player regarded as the greatest of all-time
Despite interest from Real Madrid and Marseille, he signed for Sevilla, where he stayed for one year. It is a forgotten chapter in his life. Even The death of the God of Football couldn’t bring his time in Sevilla to the limelight. But when a man precedes legend wherever he goes, there will be stories to tell. This is one such story. When we look upon the swan song of his career we see and tired, addict and basking in his old glory days type of player. But it is somewhat not the full picture. This man lost eight kilos in one week to play against Real Madrid.
In a recent interview, Juan Carlos Unzue spoke about the Argentine and his obsession with the game.
“We had to play against Real Madrid around Christmas, Maradona went to spend the holidays with his family and when we saw him seven days later, he had lost eight kilos."
Everyone was astonished. Maradona revealed that he achieved this feat by just eating raw meat for days.
"Can you believe that he told us all he had eaten was a kind of raw meat for those seven or eight days?” – like a normal human being Unzue was astonished too. This is not normal as you could see.
In the interview, Unzue told, “We used to talk to him about his personal life, he would warn us that he was only telling us things because he had made a mistake and he didn't want us to fall victim to the same mistakes."
Having been diagnosed with ALS, Unzue is aware of the changing of the dynamic of his life and physical health.
“The type of life I have had has helped me to accept this. I think that is the keyword, that this is part of my life, in the same way, that a lot of my successes have been. There are many things that we can enjoy, I have led a very ambitious, materialistic life, one where you can only feel enjoyment if you're winning, but this has shown me I can enjoy many things that don't have a material cost.”
FC Barcelona – Unzue talked about his time working with Messi and Luis Enrique
Unzue has worked closely with Barcelona over the years, even sharing his time there with Lionel Messi too. Having watched Messi develop into one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Unzue believes his ambition is what keeps him going.
“What has kept Messi going has been an ambition, and that brings moments of stress with it. He demands that he continues to be the best and as a consequence, he always wants the maximum from those around him.”
On 13 June 2019, after more than a year without a club, Unzue signed with recently relegated side Girona FC but was dismissed on 21 October.