Maradona supports Balotelli's plea for privacy
Pope would cheer Napoli because 'he is very clever'17 October, 18:22
"Everyone manages his life as he wants, so leave Balotelli alone," Maradona, an ex-Napoli player and former Argentina coach, said one day after the mercurial AC Milan and Italy striker issued a call for some privacy on his Twitter feed.
How Balotelli manages his life is between him and his coaches in terms of his professional performance, added Maradona, who spoke at the offices of Gazzetta dello Sport where he appeared to promote a video release about his life.
"I think that the coach should judge him for what he does in training, on the field". On Wednesday night Balotelli, whose career has been dogged by a long series of incidents, demanded he be left alone.
"Stop talking and talking and talking and live and let live!," Balotelli said via his Twitter account, @FinallyMario.
"Live and let me live and you'll see the differences!".
In wide-ranging remarks, Maradona said that he is also just four months away from marking a decade of living without drugs.
"It will be 10 years that I do not take anything," said Maradona, who wrestled with substance-abuse problems he says he now regrets.
"I hurt myself, I dragged other people with me. I say to young people, don't try it, it's too bad".
He also predicted that Pope Francis, an avid soccer fan and fellow Argentine national, would likely be cheering for Napoli when it meets Roma Friday night.
"I think so because he is very clever," said Maradona.
Maradona has been invited to that game as a special guest.
Maradona also quipped that when he "grows up" he would like to be pope.