On this day in auto history - September 17th

Fri 17th Sep 2021

It was on this day in 2000 that a troubled Diego Maradona - widely-regarded as the greatest footballer of all-time - famously cheated death in a car crash in Cuba.

Then 39 and only recently retired, the controversial Argentinian miraculously escaped with only minor injuries after 'writing off’ his customised Jeep in a head-on collision with a tourist bus on the outskirts of Havana. He was to later say it was “God’s will” that he survived because “it could have been so much worse."

Having spent over an hour trapped behind the wheel of the twisted wreckage before he was eventually cut free by rescuers, it later transpired that Maradona - who was undergoing drug rehabilitation in Cuba at the time - had been inexplicably driving his Jeep on the wrong side of a dual carriageway. No explanation as to why was ever given.

As his personal life descended into further turmoil, Maradona was to become no stranger to car accidents over the years.

Most notably he was accused of injuring a married couple in an alleged ‘hit-and-run’ incident when his 4x4 careered into a Buenos Aires telephone box in 2009, whilst he was also forced to apologise after knocking a photographer over whilst driving to a 2010 World Cup press conference.

The following year, Maradona and his partner Veronica Ojeda spent time in hospital following another serious crash with a bus on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.