Argentina legend Diego Maradona dead at 60

World Cup winner who reached highest of peaks and deepest troughs of despair, dead after being admitted to hospital

Diego Armando Maradona lifts the 1986 World Cup trophy in Mexico
Diego Armando Maradona lifts the 1986 World Cup trophy in Mexico

Argentina legend Diego Maradona has died. He was 60.

The World Cup winner had been recently discharged from hospital and taken to a recovery clinic to be treated for alcohol dependency.

Maradona, who led his country to World Cup triumph in 1986, had a successful operation for a blood clot on the brain earlier in November. However, alcohol withdrawal symptoms kept him in hospital for longer after being admitted for anaemia and dehydration.

The footballing genius had a life that hit the very highest of peaks before descending into the deepest troughs of despair, unable to cope with the adulation that came with stardom and the god-like status bestowed upon him, yet seemingly.

Diego Armando Maradona was regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, and by many as the greatest ever.

But while Maradona was successful on the field during his time in Italy, his personal problems increased. His cocaine use continued, and he faced a scandal there regarding an illegitimate son, as well as being the object of some suspicion over an alleged friendship with the Camorra. After serving a 15-month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine, Maradona left Napoli in disgrace in 1992.

Maradona’s vision, passing, ball control and dribbling skills were combined with his small stature (5ft 5in), which gave him a low centre of gravity allowing him to manoeuvre better than most other football players; he would often dribble past multiple opposing players on a run. His presence and leadership on the field had a great effect on his team’s general performance, while he would often be singled out by the opposition. In addition to his creative abilities, he also possessed an eye for goal and was known to be a free kick specialist.

A precocious talent, Maradona was given the nickname “El Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Boy”), a name that stuck with him throughout his career. He was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice, first when he transferred to Barcelona for a then world record £5 million, and second, when he transferred to Napoli for another record fee £6.9 million.

He played for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys during his club career, and is most famous for his time at Napoli and Barcelona where he won numerous accolades

In his international career with Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. Maradona played in four FIFA World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where he captained Argentina and led them to victory over West Germany in the final, and won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

In the 1986 World Cup quarter final, he scored both goals in a 2–1 victory over England that entered football history for two different reasons. The first goal was an unpenalized handling foul known as the “Hand of God”, while the second goal followed a 60 m (66 yd) dribble past five England players, voted “Goal of the Century” by FIFA.com voters in 2002.

Maradona became coach of Argentina in November 2008. He was in charge of the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before leaving at the end of the tournament. He coached Dubai-based club Al Wasl in the UAE Pro-League for the 2011–12 season. In 2017, Maradona became the coach of Fujairah before leaving at the end of the season. In May 2018, Maradona was announced as the new chairman of Belarusian club Dynamo Brest. He arrived in Brest and was presented by the club to start his duties in July. From September 2018 to June 2019, Maradona was coach of Mexican club Dorados.

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