The story of Diego Maradona’s life will remain an inspiration for many people. Here are some of his memorable moments captured in photographs for world to remember.
In October 1976. Maradona started his football career from club-level with Argentinos Juniors at the age of 16. Maradon later described his experience by saying “That day I felt I had held the sky in my hands.”
At the initial stage of his career he played for Barcelona Football club (FCB) contributing a lot to the team.
After countering some issues with FC Barcelona, Maradona started playing for Italian club Napoli in 1984. Where he reached the peak of his professional career and soon he became a hero and ‘Messiah’ for the city of Naples which was considered to be one of the poorest in Europe. He sucessfully led Napoli and made it win many national and regional titles.
Alongside with his club career, his international career had also begun. He made his first official appearance at the age of 16 against Hungary in 1977. Meanwhile he represented Argentina on various tournaments as a leading player, finally assuring his entrance in Argentine national squad for 1982 FIFA World Cup. In the international championship he didn’t perform as expected while Argentina also didn’t make its way to victory.
Four years later in the next tournament, Maradona captained Argentina and led his team to iconic victory in 1986 meanwhile he scored two of his greatest goals in the history of football – one of which earned him the title of “Hand of God” while the other one was declared as “Goal of the Century”. He scored both of his career-best goals in a single match against England. He also won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
He also represented Argentina in 1990 World Cup but didn’t achieve any considerable success. During those years he also became famous for drugs and alcoholic life eventually leading to his removal from the national squad in 1994 World Cup.
After haunted by his cocaine habit, Maradona retired in 1997. He was regarded as one of the most skilful players in the history of football as well as being considered one of the greatest dribblers. In 2000, he also won FIFA Player of the Century award.
Like many popular figures he had remained a subject of controversies like having an illegitimate son named Diego Sinagra (also a football player) with an Italian woman. Sometimes he was even described by media and other players as short-tempered who once fired a gun at reporters after alleging that they were evading his privacy. He also had a long managerial career, internationally for his country, Argentina and also for various football clubs from different countries.
Apart from his athletic career he was also an icon for socialists and the global left. He remained devoted and inclined towards South American revolutionaries especially Fidel Castro, whom he regarded most as his ‘second father’. Interestingly both the Cuban premier Castro and Maradona died on November 25 in a span of four years.
One of the reasons behind his support for anti-imperialism and socialism was his poor family background from Latin America.
Here are some of the Maradona’s interacting moments with the Cuban revolutionary leader.
He once said, “I am from the left in the sense that I am (…) for the progress of my country, to improve the life of poor people, so that we all have peace and freedom.”
The shadow of his political ideology could also be seen through his struggle to unionize football players as in late 90s, Maradona, with other prominent stars, formed the International Association of Professional Football Players to defend players’ rights.
Maradona was also an outspoken supporter of Palestinian cause while at the same time remained a celebrated player in Israel. He was often famously quoted as “In My Heart, I am a Palestinian. I support Palestine without any fear”.
On 25 November 2020, at the age of 60, Maradona died of a heart attack at his home in Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tributes had been paid from all over the world with millions of his admirers also mourned his demise like he would always be remembered as a legend.