May 15, 2013 / 6:09 PM / 6 years ago

Maradona clashes with reporters on return home to Buenos Aires

Former Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona gestures during a news conference in Naples February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona insulted reporters and kicked a photographer after arriving home in Buenos Aires on a visit from Dubai, where he works as a sports ambassador.

A fellow passenger on Tuesday’s flight further accused the former Argentina captain and coach, who was accompanied by his 22-year-old girlfriend, Rocio Oliva, of insulting and pushing him.

Maradona, 52, came to Argentina to meet Diego Fernando, the son he had with former girlfriend Veronica Ojeda, and surprise his younger daughter, Giannina, on her birthday, local media reported on Wednesday.

Television news reports showed an ill-tempered Maradona surrounded by microphones and blinded by photographers’ flashes calling reporters “bad people” for asking him about his visit and screaming he would “only talk to his (journalist) friends.”

Ezeiza international airport sources said Maradona had permission to leave in a car from the plane’s docking position but his girlfriend did not, so he opted to accompany her and face the waiting press corps in the terminal.

The fellow passenger, who gave television reporters his name as Ernesto, told them he had offered Maradona a dietary supplement he sells, said: “What little was left of the idol went to the devil. He’s a bully, he insulted me and pushed me.”

Later, Maradona was driven to the home of his former girlfriend in the vicinity of Ezeiza to see his 3-month-old son for the first time.

“On the way, in heavy rain, Maradona made the car stop, got out with a Havana cigar in his hand, took some stones from the edge of the highway and started throwing them at reporters’ cars and kicked a photographer’s leg,” a paparazzo told La Red radio.

Reporting by Luis Ampuero; Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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