Diego Maradona dead at 60

Diego MaradonaPhoto: Colorsport
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Argentine football legend Diego Maradona is dead, according to the country’s largest newspaper Clarin.

The Argentine football genius died of cardiac arrest on Wednesday. He recently turned 60 years old. Maradona is considered by many to be the world’s best football player.

Much can be said about Maradona, but he is best remembered by the match against England in the World Cup on June 22, 1986.

He scored two historic goals during the match in front of 114,580 spectators at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

“Hand of God”

The first goal came from Maradona’s left hand.

Referee Ali Bin Nasser did not see Maradona playing with his hand and approved the goal.

Due to the incident, he became known as the “hand of God.”

Maradona’s second goal of the day was no less spectacular, and it has been described as the “goal of the century” in Argentina.

The goal has been named the most beautiful goal of the 20th century by the International Football Association (FIFA).

Maradona carried an otherwise fairly ordinary Argentine national team to a World Cup gold that year.

“The best”

Maradona was football’s Harry Houdini, and a number of football greats commended his skills.

Lionel Messi: “Even if I played for a million years, I would not come close to Maradona. He is the best football player of all time”.

Michel Platini: “What Zinédine Zidane could do with a ball, Maradona did with an orange.”

Carlos Tevez: “Diego is God for all Argentines, and it will be so forever.”

Glenn Hoddle: “Let’s be honest: Maradona won the World Cup in 1986 alone. The rest of his team was ordinary.”

Childhood

Maradona grew up in a poor family in the slum town of Villa Fiorito on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires. 

He was the fifth out of eight siblings, and two of his younger brothers also became professional football players.

There were early rumors about the boy’s talent. 

He had an amazing left foot, and talent scouts discovered him at a very young age. 

As a 12-year-old, he entertained spectators in top matches by performing ball tricks during the breaks.

“He only had football. He was not educated or sophisticated. He was shirtless and barefoot. He was a street boy who had received a gift from God,” family friend José Trotte said about Diego Maradona.

Football pulled Maradona out of the slums. 

It was his golden ticket.

Legendary status

Maradona made his debut on the national team as a 16-year-old in February 1977, and many thought it was a mistake that he was not allowed to participate in the World Cup as a 17-year-old in 1978. 

His first encounter with the World Cup, therefore, came in 1982. Maradona also participated in the World Cup in 1990 and 1994, although the last championship in the United States was shameful. 

It attracted worldwide attention when traces of ephedrine were found during doping control, and he was thrown out of the championship before the group game was over.

He started his club career in his home country, but as a 21-year-old, he continued his football journey in Europe. 

Barcelona became the first stop. The Catalans paid five million pounds to Boca Juniors, and that made him the world’s most expensive football player at the time.

But it was the seven years he spent in Naples that contributed the most to his legendary status at the club level. There he is considered a “god” to this day, after two series golds.

After finishing his career, he tried his hand as both club and national team coach (Argentina) without much success.

Maradona did not have it easy after his career ended. He struggled with obesity problems, mental health problems, and alcohol and cocaine abuse – but fans never forgot him.

He received several honors and honorary titles.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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