As you’ve already known, 2020 is full of surprises and they’re rarely pleasant ones. The latest casualty of the year of unfortunate events is Argentina’s footballing wizard, the original GOAT, Diego Maradona who passed on 26 November at the age of 60.
The world of football paid tribute following his demise
Jose Mourinho on Diego Maradona:
"There is Maradona and there is Diego. Maradona I don’t need to speak about because the world knows and nobody will ever forget. Diego had a big, big, big, big heart. That’s the guy I miss."
Pele on Maradona:
"What a sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to his family members. One day, I hope we can play football together in the sky"
His life was eventful as eventful can be. The footballing legend known for his time with Napoli and Boca Juniors during his club career as well as winning the World Cup back in 1986, Maradona was notorious for his passion to win the game and would do whatever necessary to secure the victory, sometimes illegally, like the infamous hand of god incident that he scored en route to lifting the World Cup trophy.
Maradona even once played a friendly match at the Merdeka Stadium in 1982 when Boca Juniors faced Selangor. The closely fought match ended 2-1 in favour of Boca Juniors with Maradona scoring.
Off the pitch, Maradona held cult status. Getting into brawls, befriending political leaders like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, the football legend was known to say whatever he felt regardless of what anyone thought.
His fall came at his own hands… a lack of discipline and an appetite to party during his years at Barcelona would result in a 15-month ban after he tested positive for cocaine. Three years after his first suspension came another for using ephedrine in the 1994 World Cup.
But like all champions, Maradona bounced back from this setback, playing three more seasons with Boca Juniors and even finished second in his final season with the club.
He retired from football at the age of 37 but would return to the top of the Argentine football scene as a manager, leading them to the quarter finals of the 2010 World Cup.
He was later included in the World Team of the 20th Century in 1998 before winning the FIFA Player of the Century Award in 2000, FIFA Goal of the Century in 2002 (for his goal against England in 1986) and Napoli even retired the number 10 jersey in his honour.
Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi had this to say about his former coach: “Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona, not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been.”
Because of Maradona, millions love football. Here’s to a legend.
Photo from behance.net