Byline by- Vinayak Heliwal
There are legends, G.O.A.Ts, immortals, and then there is legendary Diego Maradona. The legendary soccer star Diego Maradona has passed away aged 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest on Wednesday.
Famed for the ‘Hand of God’ Goal, Maradona captivated fans over a two-decade career with a bewitching style of play that was all his own.
Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1960, in Villa Fiorito, a province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The fifth of eight children raised by Diego Sr. And Dona Tota, Maradona grew up in a poor but close-knit household. He received his first soccer ball as a gift at age 3 and quickly became devoted to the game.
Maradona made his first division soccer club Argentina Juniors in 1976, days before turning 16. A short but fearless midfielder is renowned for his ability to create scoring chances for himself and others firstly led Argentina Boca Juniors to the league championship in 1982 and was transferred to Spain’s Barcelona for a record 3 million. Maradona led club teams to the championship in Argentina, Italy, and Spain.
The Pinnacle of his career came after leading Argentina to the 1986 world cup winning team. His performance there included two memorable goals of his career in a quarter match against England. The first was scored reportedly illegally with his left hand which Maradona later claimed was the work of ‘the hand of God ‘ and the second required no supernatural help other than an otherworldly ability to dribble past an onslaught of defenders to score the goal. The second goal which he scored was voted as the ‘Goal of the Century’ as dribbled past 5 England players to find the back of the net. Altogether Maradona played in four World Cups and scored an impressive 34 goals in 91 international appearances for Argentina.
Despite his unquestioned brilliance on the pitch, the emotional Maradona became equally well known as a highly controversial figure. He became addicted to cocaine while playing in Spain in the 1980s and received a 15- month suspension after testing positive for the substance in 1991. Maradona endured another high profile suspension three years later, this time for testing positive for ephedrine during the World Cup.
Maradona spent the twilight of his playing career in his home country, his physical skills diminished by mounting injuries and years of hard living. Maradona finally announced his retirement on the eve of his birthday in 1997.The problems that plagued Maradona later in his playing career continued after his retirement also. He was hospitalized for health problems in 2000 and 2004 for heart problems and gastric bypass surgery.
Although in 2008 Maradona was hired to coach the Argentina National Team, having a talented squad headlined by modern-day great Lionel Messi were unfortunately bounced from the 2010 World Cup with a 4-0 thrashing by Germany in the quarter-finals and Maradona’s contract was not renewed.
The attacking midfielder is known for his off-field battles. Maradona has battled severe drug addiction and obesity. Diego Maradona remained a football archetypal troubled genius, a world-beating player whose life and career scaled the most dazzling heights but also plumbed the darkest depths.
To honor one of the greatest footballers of all time Argentina has announced 3-day national mourning in the country. In ages to come, there could be legends, greats, and G.O.A.TS