From Staff and Wire Reports

Diego Maradona, considered the world’s best soccer player, said he never played a game under the influence of drugs despite testing positive for cocaine.

“I’ve never taken anything to improve my performance,” he said.

“I’ve never gone on the field under the effects of a stimulant. I don’t want to get a suspension,” Italian journalists close to the Argentine star quoted him as saying.

Maradona plays for the Naples professional team during the European season and has been a star of the Argentine team in World Cup competition, leading the squad to a championship in 1986 and a second-place finish in 1990.

He faces a two-year suspension after the Italian soccer federation said Friday a routine test taken after a match March 17 showed traces of the banned substance.