SportsFrom legendary "Son of the Wind" to turbulent post-retirement life: Argentine star Claudio Caniggia's rise and fall

From legendary "Son of the Wind" to turbulent post-retirement life: Argentine star Claudio Caniggia's rise and fall

In the photo from the left: Diego Armando Maradona and Claudio Caniggia
In the photo from the left: Diego Armando Maradona and Claudio Caniggia
Images source: © Getty Images | Alessandro Sabattini
5:04 PM EST, January 9, 2024

The pantheon of legendary Argentine footballers isn’t just populated by greats such as Diego Armando Maradona or Lionel Messi. Claudio Caniggia holds a firm place in this revered assembly, largely attributable to his performance for the national team against Brazil.

In the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, it was none other than Caniggia who managed to score the decisive goal at Stadio Delle Alpi in Turin. His goal led the Argentine team to a 1-0 victory over Brazil.

Argentina advanced to the World Cup final, due in no small part to Caniggia. However, a second yellow card ruled him out from participating in the final match.

The Argentine team, led by Maradona, sadly lost the final against Germany 0:1. It has been Maradona's claim that they could have emerged victorious had Caniggia been a part of the team.

In March 1993, Caniggia faced a major setback when his career came to a sudden halt after failing a drug test. Despite initial denial, he later acknowledged drug use, which led to a 13-month suspension. Upon returning, Caniggia failed to regain his earlier footballing prowess.

Off the field, Caniggia's relationship with Maradona, also known as "Divine Diego", was extraordinary. His wife, model Mariana Nannis, even jokingly commented on their bond, stating that their camaraderie stemmed from her husband's long hair and well-built physique.

"Sometimes I think that Diego is in love with my husband. It's probably because of his long hair and big muscles," Nannis famously said.

In 1996, during a matchup where Boca Juniors trounced local rival River Plate 4-1, a memorable photo showcasing Maradona and Caniggia sharing a celebratory kiss went viral. This incident quickly became the talk amongst football fans globally.

Life post-retirement has not been easy for Caniggia. After separating from his wife, he faced accusations of physical abuse and was indirectly blamed for the death of their unborn child.

Nannis also claimed that Caniggia moved in with a prostitute and developed a drug addiction post his career. While these accusations garner less attention now, the Argentine has yet to publicly address them.

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