Football legend Maradona dies aged 60

Alongside Pele, Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of the 20th century. Image via Creative Commons.

Argentina legend Diego Maradona, widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 60.

The former midfielder reportedly suffered a heart attack at his home in Tigre, near Buenos Aires.

Earlier in November, it was reported that Maradona underwent a successful surgery which saw the removal of a blood clot in his brain.

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In a statement on social media, the Argentine Football Association expressed “its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend,” adding: “You will always be in our hearts.”

One of the greatest players of all time, Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, producing a series of sublime individual performances.

Maradona earned a name for himself playing for the likes Barcelona and Napoli where he won numerous accolades, but the midfielder retired shortly before the introduction of the Ballon D’or, which is annually awarded to the sport’s best player.

Argentina’s footballing Icon

Maradona played for some of Europe’s greatest sides during his 21-year career. The highlight of his club career came at Napoli, where he scored 81 goals in 187 matches. The Argentinian led the Italian side to two Serie A titles making such an impact that his No.10 shirt was retired by the club, while murals of the midfielder are present in many part of Naples.

For Argentina, he scored 34 goals in 91 appearances, as well as playing in four World Cups. In 1986 he led his country to a World Cup trophy in the same tournament winning the tournament’s Golden Ball Award, which cemented his place as the greatest player of the tournament.

Despite his footballing brilliance, he struggled to cope with a drug addiction that resulted in him failing multiple drug test and being sent home from training camps. In 1991, Maradona was banned from football for testing positive for recreational drugs. He retired in 1997, on his 37th birthday, during his second stint at his hometown club, Boca Juniors.

Maradona pulling off the famous ‘Hand of God’ against England in the 1986 World Cup

After retiring from football Maradona pursued a managerial career that would fall short of the expectations many had for him. He took charge of Argentina for the 2008 World Cup, although his side was eventually beaten 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-final. He left the role months later.

One of the greatest legends who will be remembered for his famous ‘Hand of God’ — he scored a controversial opening goal with his hand against England in the 1986 World Cup semi-final before scoring what was later described as the “goal of the century” in the same game.

The footballing world pays tribute

Pele, who has always been placed alongside Maradona in the discussion of ‘greatest footballer of all time’ has led the tributes tonight as he reflects on the loss of his ‘dear friend’.

Fellow Argentina legend Lionel Messi said: “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”.

Photo Source: Wikipedia

Words: Michael Patcha | Subbed: Connor O’Halloran

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