Rio de Janeiro, Paulo Cesar, a member of Brazil's famed 1970 football World Cup winning team, has admitted he sold the gold medal to buy cocaine.
"I wasn't in control emotionally. I should never have negotiated and sold such a precious medal," he told Globonews television station.
"It's a huge loss. I've never told anyone but now I'm ready to admit it."
The 65-year-old former midfielder added: "The most important thing for me was cocaine. The medal was less important."
Paulo Cesar made his name at Rio de Janeiro outfit Botafogo in the 1960s before going on to play for other leading Brazilian lights Flamengo, Fluminense, Gremio, Vasco da Gama and Corinthians.
He said he was addicted to drugs and alcohol for 17 years and had lost three appartements in Rio because of it.
His addiction began in France when playing for Marseille in 1974-75. He ended his career at Aix-en-Provence in 1982-83, where a doctor told him he would soon die if he didn't change his ways.
He was an unused substitute in Brazil's 4-1 victory over Italy in the final in Mexico City.
He had started in two of Brazil's three group games and also made two other substitute appearances, although he did not feature in either the semi-final or final.