The Argentine led a colourful life both on and off the pitch, with his love life producing some awkward questions for him to answer
Diego Maradona’s personal life was as vivid as his professional one on the pitch, with many lurid tales emerging over the years regarding the World Cup winner’s friendships and dalliances.
When Maradona passed away at the age of 60 on November 25, 2020, the issue of his progeny, something which had popped up every now and then during his lifetime, came into sharp focus once more.
The unfortunate reality of untimely deaths is that bitter disputes can sometimes arise over the question of inheritance.
Such scenarios can be extremely messy and it is fair to say that Maradona’s financial situation at the time of his death was not exactly straightforward.
In Maradona’s case, as with anyone else, his children are quite entitled to seek answers about what they may be due. So, how many children did Maradona have and who are they?
How many children did Diego Maradona have?
Maradona acknowledged that he was the father of eight children, at the time of his death in 2020. However, when it came to matters of paternity, it was not always so clear cut.
Indeed, for many years Maradona insisted that he was the father of just two children – Giannina and Dalma, the ‘legitimate’ daughters he had with his ex-wife Claudia Villafane.
The Argentine’s first child was actually Diego Sinagra, who was born in September 1986 – a number of months before Dalma.
Sinagra, who is now known as Diego Armando Maradona Junior, was raised by his mother, Cristiana Sinagra, in Italy and grew up to be a footballer.
While Italian courts ruled that Sinagra was Maradona’s son back in 1993 (after Maradona refused to undergo DNA tests), it was not until the mid-2010s that the Argentine fully acknowledged it.
Around the same time, Maradona recognised that he was also the father of Jana, a daughter who was born following an affair he had with Valeria Sabalain.
Maradona only recognised Diego Junior and Jana as his children following lengthy court battles with their mothers.
There were no paternity issues when Maradona’s son Diego Fernando was born to his ex-girlfriend Veronica Ojeda in 2013.
The Argentine legend did not have any children with his most recent girlfriend Rocio Oliva, but he did acknowledge paternity of three Cuban children in 2019.
Those three children – Joana, Lu and Javielito – were reportedly born to two different mothers during time he spent in Cuba for addiction treatment between 2000 and 2005.
Maradona’s daughter Gianinna once joked that her father had nearly produced enough offspring to populate an entire football team. “Only needs three more to make 11,” she said, adding: “You can do it!”
Two more people have claimed to be the children of Diego Maradona in recent years – Santiago Lara and Magali Gil.
Mr Lara and Miss Gil both believe Maradona to be their father and have said that they are taking legal action in order to establish the facts.
Remarkably, not long after Maradona’s death in 2020, Mr Lara’s lawyer even asked a court to exhume the former player’s body in order to collect a DNA sample for a paternity test.
What was Diego Maradona’s estimated wealth?
It is unclear exactly how much Diego Maradona’s estate is worth, with reports varying as to its true extent.
According to some reports in Argentina, once the former player’s assets are taken into account – including cars, image rights contracts, properties and jewellery – it could be in the millions.
However, his net worth is reportedly quite low (by elite footballers’ standards) due, chiefly, to a dispute over tax with Italian authorities.
While Maradona alluded to the idea of giving his wealth away entirely to charity in a YouTube video in 2019, it is not actually possible in Argentine law.
Only a third of his assets can be given away, with the rest going to his children and, if applicable, spouse.