Tragic news hit us fresh last week, when Argentinian media announced that soccer superstar and legend, Diego Armando Maradona, died due to heart failure, after having surgery done just a few days back. Considered by many around the whole planet as the greatest footballer to ever live, Maradona had a life full of highs and lows, but what he did inside the pitch was undeniable, and his death has left a void in sports in general, which has been commemorated in many different sports events and leagues in the world in the past few days.
Who was Diego Maradona, the footballer?
Even if you’re not that much into soccer, or into sports in general, you have probably heard about this guy. Like him or not, he was a football hero, idolized not only in Argentina, but by many soccer fans from all over.
Maradona had his greatest moments playing for his National team, Argentina, with him as captain, his country lifted the FIFA World Cup in 1986 in Mexico, leaving some of the most iconic plays and moments in the history of football in that tournament, like the “hand of God”, or what’s considered to be the best goal ever in the history of the World Cup, both against England’s national team.
That’s what most people remember him from, however, Maradona played for Argentina since 1977 to 1994, when he was banned by FIFA right in the middle of a World Cup game in the United States. He played a total of 106 games for his national team and scored 42 goals.
In his club career, Maradona had his debut in 1976 with Argentinos Juniors, where he scored the most goals, 116 in 166 games until 1981. Then he moved to Boca Juniors for just one season, then Barcelona from 1982 to 1984, and then he transferred to the club were he made history, in Italy’s Serie A, Napoli, where he played 188 games and scored 81 goals from 1984 to 1991, winning 2 league titles, 1 Coppa Italia and 1 Supercopa Italia. The team hasn’t won the league ever since.
After Napoli, Maradona also played for Sevilla, Newell’s Old Boys and back in Boca Juniors before he retired as a player in 1997. Overall, he played a total of 491 club games and scored 259 goals.
Before retiring as a player officially, Maradona had his first two experiences as a manager back in Argentina, for Deportivo Mandiyu in 1994 and Racing Club in 1994. After retiring in 1997 he took some time off and it wasn’t until 2008 when he got to manage Argentina, taking the team to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where they were big favorites, but lost to Germany 4-0 in quarter finals and got the boot.
After that he managed Al-Wasl in Dubai, Deportivo Riestra as assistant coach, in Buenos Aires, Fuairah in UAE, Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico and then he moved back to Argentina to coach Gimnasia La Plata until he died unexpectedly.
As you probably already know, Maradona had a difficult personal life, filled with drug abuse, and bad personal choices, and that’s the black spot in his resume. He was badly addicted to cocaine ever since his days with Napoli, and cocaine was also the reason he was suspended by FIFA during the USA 1994 World Cup. He had to be treated for several health issues like obesity, hepatitis, and alcohol abuse. Recently, in 2019, he underwent surgery after a hernia which caused internal bleeding in his stomach. Right before his death he had an emergency brain surgery to treat a subdural hematoma. Doctors claimed surgery was successful and “Diego” could return home, but a few days after, on November 25th, he had a heart attack in his house. After several tributes in Argentina and the whole world, Maradona was laid to rest in peace in Buenos Aires, Argentina.