Argentine soccer star Diego Armando Maradona has died. This has been confirmed by his agent and friend Matías Morla. “El Pelusa” suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest in his house in Tigre where he had settled after his head operation, according to local media.
Maradona had been operated on for a subdural hematoma at the Olivos clinic, in Buenos Aires, and had been discharged two weeks ago to continue treatment at home.
The commotion in Argentina is total. The Government has declared three days of official mourning.
The newspapers have opened special full-page editions to commemorate the national icon, and on social media nothing else is said.
But the surprise and the commotion does not remain in Argentina nor is it limited only to the world of sports, it is worldwide, due to the loss of a football icon and excesses.
Genius and excesses throughout his career
The soccer genius paid dearly for his glory by falling prey to drugs and alcohol, but the soccer icon, considered almost a god in Argentina, had always been able to recover.
Despite his excesses of all kinds, Diego Armando Maradona, born in Buenos Aires and who had just turned 60, will forever remain the “ten”, the number ten, capable of scoring the greatest goals in history, as well that King Pele, ultimately, his only rival.
Angel or demon? The controversy has never stopped. “Rebel”. Hero. Swindler. God “: in his documentary” Diego Maradona “, presented out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2019, British filmmaker Asif Kapadia recounts the tumultuous years of the Argentine in Naples, which brought him his greatest joys and ended up crushing him.
The “Pibe de oro” from the towns of Buenos Aires fell into the Cauldron of Bombonera, the Boca Juniors stadium, when he was a child.
An exceptional dribbler capable of baffling defenses, Maradona will continue to be the symbol and undisputed captain of Argentina. The legendary number 10 scored 50 goals in 115 games for the national team over a 17-year period (1977-1994) and led his country to its second FIFA World Cup in 1986.
The hand of God
Among the thousands of photos that accompanied the glory of Maradona and then his fall, two images summarize his life. The first of them dates back to 1986, the night of the World Cup final at the legendary Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, where the 1.65m tall player is nothing more than a huge smile brandishing the trophy world. He is at the top of his art.
His goal against England in the quarterfinals caused an entire nation to shout with joy and accept Maradona’s brilliant and improvised explanation: “the hand of God.”
But what football fans will remember most of his second goal against the English is that he cut through the entire defense before fooling the goalkeeper, a masterpiece of intuition and sheer talent.
Much less glorious, the second photo dates from April 26, 1991. Hairy, bloated, unshaven, with his eyes out, Maradona leaves his house in Buenos Aires surrounded by two policemen who have come to arrest him for possession and consumption of cocaine .
It is the beginning of decadence, noisy statements, all kinds of abuses, it returns to the foreground carefully orchestrated by an entourage of sharks. From now on, detox cures will alternate with relapses.
After trying drugs in Barcelona’s Chinatown, where he played for two seasons (1982-1984), his addiction did not diminish during his glory years at Napoli (1984-1991), the club he was adored by for having won the only two Italian league titles in its history, in 1987 and 1990.
But Maradona paid dearly for that celebrity, which he could never handle. After a two-year suspension for another positive test in 1994, he officially left the soccer world at the age of 37 on his birthday, having been marred by scandals and a two-year suspension for another positive test in 1994. .
Away from the stadiums, the decline will accelerate. In 2000, he was hospitalized in Punta del Este, a famous Uruguayan seaside resort, for a drug-related heart attack.
He recovered and went to Cuba to detox. Four years of round-trip travel between Argentina and his second homeland failed to cure him of his cocaine addiction. In 2004, he almost died after a cardiovascular accident, after which he returned to Havana.
The following year, he underwent surgery in Bogotá to reduce the absorption capacity of his stomach in order to fight obesity, allowing him to lose almost 50 kilos.
Argentina wants to believe again. At the end of 2005, charming and fit, he broke audience records with his television show “La noche del 10” where he invited his great rival Pelé. However, Diego started drinking, gained weight, smoked, and had a relapse of a liver crisis that led him back to the hospital in 2007.
Once again, he recovered and went back to work. He was appointed Argentina coach in 2008, but two years later he was fired for his poor results. Subsequently, he coached two clubs in the United Arab Emirates before assuming the role of president of the Belarusian club Dinamo Brest (D1) in 2018.
That same year, he became the coach of Mexico’s Dorados de Sinaloa (D2), before slamming the door eight months later for a missed penalty for his club. Maradona in all his splendor …
Tribute from a soccer fan
A star in the footballing sky has faded. Diego Armando Maradona has died. The Argentine star has died a victim of a cardiorespiratory arrest, at the age of 60, at his residence in Buenos Aires. For many, Maradona has been the best player in history. His life is full of excesses, sporting milestones and human defeats.
Raised in Villa Fiorito, the ‘golden kid’ conquered the world with a prodigious left leg and a character of those that is only capable of forging the passage through the ‘paddocks’. Today, the greatest of the ‘beautiful sport’ pay tribute to him and mourn his death. Loved, revered, respected but, at the same time criticized and questioned, he left his mark on each and every one of his actions. Boca Juniors, Barcelona and above all, Naples, marked an era with the historic ‘number ten in their ranks’.
His are some of the best plays that populate the video libraries around the world. Maradona didn’t hit the ball. Maradona caressed the ball. Creator of the famous ‘Hand of God’ in the World Cup in Mexico, the flirtation with drugs perhaps ended, prematurely, with one of the greatest talents that football has given.
After overcoming several serious health problems, in recent years, this Wednesday he left, never to return. This was the Argentine genius. As the song ‘reads’, Maradona was not just any person, he was a man glued to a leather ball. He had the heavenly gift of treating the ball very well. He was, a ‘warrior’.