Argentina's Maradona, one of football's greatest, dies aged 60

Published November 25, 2020
Argentine World Cup winning captain Diego Maradona. — File photo
Argentine World Cup winning captain Diego Maradona. — File photo

Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, widely regarded as one of the game's greatest ever players, died of a heart attack on Wednesday, his lawyer said.

Maradona, 60, had recently battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural haematoma several weeks ago.

He suffered a heart attack at his home in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentinian media and acquaintances of the former player said.

Maradona won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986.

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning after the news of Maradona's death.

Retired Brazilian football star Pele mourned his death.

“Certainly, one day we'll kick a ball together in the sky above,” he said in a brief statement provided to Reuters by a representative.

Lionel Messi also paid tribute to the late footballer by calling him “eternal” in a post on Instagram.

“A very sad day for all Argentines and football,” Messi wrote.

“He has left us but he will never leave us because Diego is eternal.

“I will keep all the beautiful moments that I lived with him and would like to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP."

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

One of the most gifted football players in history, Maradona's pinnacle of glory came when he captained Argentina to win the World Cup in 1986, before plunging to misery when he was kicked out the 1994 World Cup for doping.

Years of drug use, overeating and alcoholism truncated a stellar career and altered his appearance from a lithe athlete who could slalom effortlessly through teams to a bloated addict who nearly died of cocaine-induced heart failure in 2000.

At club level, he broke on to the scene with Buenos Aires' Boca Juniors before playing in Spain with Barcelona. He was idolised in Italy after leading Napoli to their first ever Italian league title in 1987.

He ended his playing career back in Argentina, returning to Boca. He had a brief and controversy-packed spell as Argentine national team coach from 2008 to 2010 before coaching in the Middle East and Mexico.

A magician with the ball — deceptively quick and a visionary passer — Maradona is considered by some as the greatest football player ever, edging out that other great, Brazil's Pele. In Argentina, he was worshipped as 'El Dios' — The God — partly a play on words on his number 10 shirt, 'El Diez.' He was largely responsible for Argentina's World Cup victory in 1986 in Mexico, scoring two famous goals in one game against England in the quarter-finals.


Additional input by AFP.

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