Ice-cream, listening to Total Eclipse of the Heart and finding new shirts the day before England: How Maradona inspired Argentina to glory in 1986 as told by room-mate Pedro Pasculli
Rarely does a World Cup pass without Diego Maradona making headlines, be that on the pitch or off it.
That has again been the case in Russia, where the behaviour of the Argentina legend has been just as unsightly as the defending of his country, who were knocked out in the second round by Sunday's finalists France.
Yet there is no doubting the genius Maradona was and his finest hour came at the World Cup of 1986. Here, with the help of his room-mate Pedro Pasculli, Sportsmail brings you the inside story of one of the tournament's greatest triumphs...
Pedro Pasculli and Diego Maradona after Argentina beat West Germany to win the World Cup
It was a bedroom so shabby and nondescript that Maradona and Pasculli decorated the walls with posters of everything from the Virgin Mary to Argentine pop stars, partly in an attempt to cover the exposed brickwork.
But here, in their cramped living quarters in Mexico City - a whorehouse without the whores as Maradona called it - lay the bedrock for one of the most iconic World Cup journeys.
Maradona was the talisman who led Argentina almost single-handedly - quite literally - to victory at Mexico '86. He, though, needed a confidant during those four weeks when the eyes of the world were on him.
That man was Pasculli, the fellow forward whose part in their success has perhaps been underplayed, especially as much of his support for their star player was offered behind the closed door of room No 6.
It was there, on the night of Argentina's 2-1 victory over England in the quarter-final, that they watched highlights for the first time. Maradona had scored the most infamous goal in World Cup history when using his hand to put Argentina ahead early in the second half.
Then, four minutes later, he scored the tournament's most famous after dribbling from his own half.
Maradona celebrates with fans and team-mates having inspired Argentina to glory
Pasculli, Maradona and Oscar Ruggeri lift the World Cup trophy aloft at Estadio Azteca
Even now, 32 years on, the suggestion of Maradona having cheated is not entertained.
'The Hand of God was a craftiness,' Pasculli tells us from his home near the Italian city of Lecce, where he played for seven years and is still revered.
'In Italy we would call it Furbizia (cunning). Only a champion like Diego could do that. But then, he made everything good with the best goal in World Cup history, and maybe the greatest goal ever. It was a sensational goal… crazy.
'We watched them again together. We joked about the craftiness of the first. Many players have tried that sort of thing and failed, but he succeeded at a World Cup - that is Diego.'
Pasculli had been a team-mate of Maradona with Argentinos Juniors and won a move to Serie A in 1985 after scoring more than 100 goals in his homeland. His inclusion in the squad for Mexico, however, was far from guaranteed.
'You are only sure to be in if your surname is Maradona or Messi,' says the 58-year-old, who is now looking for a coaching role in England.
'I was in Lecce when I learned of my call-up, it was 3am. A journalist called and I cried, I cried with pleasure. It was one of the happiest moments in my life.'
Those dreams quickly descended into a nightmare when the camp was split in two - one half behind 1978 World Cup-winning captain Daniel Passarella, the other with Maradona. Pasculli was among the group labelled 'rebels' by the veteran skipper.
'We weren't rebels,' he protests. 'It was like any family, it happens, there was a problem inside the team. All of the players had a meeting, and we resolved it.'
Maradona scored his Hand of God goal against England, described by Pascalli as 'craftiness'
Or rather, Maradona resolved it, calling out Passarella as a 'backstabber' and accusing him of being responsible for an extortionate unpaid phone bill which, because no-one had confessed to, was to be split between the squad. The players rallied behind Maradona and Passarella withdrew because of a calf strain.
'Then,' Pasculli adds, 'we won the cup with Diego as captain. We won because the team was strong, we were close-knit.'
Argentina's opening group match was against South Korea, a 3-1 victory in which Pasculli started.
Before and after that game the squad hit upon a winning formula which became a superstition. Unsurprisingly, it involved escaping the team base, where the lack of amenities had led them to loosen the screws of the masseur's bed by means of entertainment and watch him crash to the floor through a window.
'We got out and relaxed - we went to the shopping mall, walked around, ate hot dogs and ice-cream,' says Pasculli.
'Afterwards, we ate at a steak restaurant and joined a group of Argentine supporters and celebrated our win, singing and dancing with them.' And so Helen's Ice-Cream parlour and a visit to the steakhouse became team rituals.
Pascalli told Sportsmail that Maradona gave his team-mates the belief that they needed
Song was also a theme of their journey, such as the Bonnie Tyler hit Total Eclipse of the Heart and the Rocky soundtrack, played on the team bus and in the dressing-room.
Pasculli did not feature in the final two group games - a 1-1 draw with Italy and 2-0 win over Bulgaria - but he was recalled for the last-16 tie against Uruguay.
'They were a rough, aggressive and ferocious team,' says Pasculli. 'They targeted Diego.'
The onus rested with Maradona's team-mates. Just before half-time, with the game goalless, Argentina broke upfield.
'Diego started the move and eventually the ball rolled to me,' he adds. 'I had only the goalkeeper to beat. I looked him in the eye and placed it to his left. Goal.'
Pasculli explained how Maradona helped Argentina find new shirts before a game
Argentina would play England at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City for a place in the semi-final. Pasculli, hero of the hour, expected to start. Then, the night before the game, coach Carlos Bilardo knocked at No 6 and asked Maradona for a word outside.
The captain was there when Bilardo broke the news that his friend would not play. Maradona later wrote in his book, 'Touched by God', that Pasculli 'cried like a baby', but he recalls: 'I did not cry. I was unhappy because I had played well and scored the winning goal.
'But the coach always thought of the opponent when he picked the team and I respected that. Myself and Diego talked. He is a champion, he knew how to give peace and the right advice.'
Maradona, it seems, had plenty of advice to dispense, such as his instruction that the team could not wear their alternative blue jersey against England in the midday heat because it was too thick. Bilardo used a pair of scissors to pierce holes in the shirts in an attempt to keep the players happy. It did not work.
'We could not wear those jerseys, so it was a race against the clock,' explains Pasculli. 'One of the directors had to go into the city to look for new shirts. Eventually, the day before the game, we found some.'
Only England's Gary Lineker scored more goals than Maradona at the 1986 World Cup
Two seamstresses were drafted in to sew on the numbers and national emblem and, on the pitch, Maradona knitted everything together, just as he did when scoring both goals in the 2-0 victory over Belgium in the semi-final.
So to the final against West Germany. The night before, Maradona turned to Pasculli. Neither of them could sleep. In the darkness, they went for a walk.
'Playing a World Cup final is not easy,' says Pasculli. 'You feel so much pressure, it was a wait that never ended, it is very difficult to sleep.
'But for Diego, that emotion was normal. With Diego near you, everything is easier. He talked to me all night, this allowed me to temper myself. Having Diego as a team-mate represented for us all the guarantee that, in the end, we would win the World Cup.'
Pasculli was right. Argentina won 3-2. There is a famous image of Maradona on the shoulders of a fan with the trophy aloft in his arms. Next to him, also being hoisted in the air, is Pasculli.
'There are no words to describe it,' he says. 'You have to live it to understand. You lift that trophy and show it to the whole world - you are the champions!'
A delighted Maradona waits for his turn to lift the trophy following Argentina's victory
The squad flew back to Buenos Aires that same evening, but not before returning to the squalid base they had come to call home.
'We kept a promise to ourselves and placed the trophy on the grass of the training pitch,' reveals Pasculli. 'We then did a victory lap around the field, just us, hugging each other and celebrating. It was a special moment.'
Back in their room, Pasculli and Maradona drank Chivas Regal whisky and the party continued on their flight home, where a hero's reception awaited at the palace in Plaza de Mayo.
'Physically, that flight was like playing another game,' says Pasculli. 'Dancing, singing, drinking. But to bring that happiness to your countrymen… it is the most incredible feeling.'
Even now, Pasculli is stopped on the streets and in the coffee shops around Lecce.
'They ask for pictures and autographs,' he says. 'The ask me about Mexico and Maradona. But they also want me to help their son to become a professional player and ask for my advice.'
Pasculli has been in coaching and management for 18 years, including a spell in charge of the Uganda national team. 'I am looking for a new adventure,' he says. 'I still have the passion I did during my very first session. I would like to coach abroad, especially in the UK, the football is fantastic. We have seen that with England at this World Cup.'
Sadly, the same could not be said of Argentina. On reflection, perhaps Messi and co should have based themselves in a run-down hotel.