Argentine football legend Diego ‘Hand of God’ Maradona has passed away at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack. The news, which broke today, November 25, has sent the whole world, especially football faithfuls into mourning.
The football icon, who was the Head Coach of Gimnasia de La Plata until his death, had been hospitalized at the beginning of November, days after celebrating his landmark birthday. Born October 30, 1960, in Lanús, Buenos Aires Province, his 60th birthday was indeed a special one.
Known as the greatest footballer of his generation, Maradona had been recuperating from the removal of a blood clot in the brain after he was discharged a few days ago. He was initially admitted in a clinic with signs of depression, anemia, and dehydration, before being transferred to La Plata clinic where the accumulation of blood between a membrane and his brain was discovered. Reports say he died on the morning of November 25 in his home in Tigre, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
The Argentine national team’s official Twitter account confirmed the news of Diego Maradona’s death on Wednesday, paying tribute to one of the nation’s favorite football icons. “You will be eternal in every heart of the football world,” the message read as it bade farewell to the superstar.
A football icon for decades, Maradona made his professional football debut at 15 with Argentinos Juniors in 1976. He was instrumental in leading Argentina to their second World Cup triumph in 1986, captaining the team that triumphed over West Germany.
He settled in Naples, Italy after the World Cup triumph and joined the Napoli team. While securing his place as the world’s best footballer at Napoli, Maradona was also indulging in drugs which eventually led to his downfall. He received a 15-month ban from football after testing positive for cocaine in 1991. While his personal life was turbulent, he somehow kept his professional life going. In 1990, he helped Argentina reach a second consecutive World Cup final, only to lose to West Germany with a 1-0 score, the only goal being a penalty kick in the 85th minute.
Another ban followed in ’94 after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs at the 1994 World Cup. This punctured his image and then led him to make a career change to football management. Diego Maradona was, however, given a chance to manage the Argentine team at a fourth World Cup – the 2010 edition in South Africa. A 4-0 quarter-final loss to Germany proved to be his last involvement with the Argentine national team. He spent his last decade managing in the Middle East, battling health and financial issues. He had ultimately returned to Argentina where in September 2019 he took up the final coaching gig at Gimnasia Football Club until his death.
He is survived by his children––daughters Dalma Nerea and Gianinna Dinorah and a son, Diego Sinagra, among other family members.
Our condolences go out to Diego Maradona’s family, friends and colleagues.
In honor of the man, the myth and the legend, Diego Maradona, check out his best goals…
Cover photo credit: Goal