Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60, his spokesman announced today. Renowned along with Brazil’s Pele as one of the greatest footballers of all time, the Argentine World Cup winning captain died of a heart attack, having undergone brain surgery earlier this month, a member of his entourage told AFP.
President Alberto Fernandez immediately announced three days of national mourning in Argentina.
Shortly before the announcement that shocked the football world, Argentine media reported Maradona had suffered a serious health setback today and was being treated by doctors at his home north of Buenos Aires. “There are four ambulances at the door of the residence. They have summoned family members to come. It is serious,” the TyC Sports channel reported.
The 1986 World Cup champion earlier had an emergency operation for a subdural hematoma, which us an accumulation of blood between a membrane and his brain.
Retired Brazilian soccer star Pele said it is sad to “lose friends this way”.
“We are in mourning,” said club spokesman Nicola Lombardo. “We feel like a boxer who has been knocked out. We are in shock.”
Diego Armando Maradona Franco (30 October 1960 — 25 November 2020) was an Argentine professional footballer and football manager. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, and by many as the greatest ever.
Maradona was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award. Maradona’s vision, passing, ball control and dribbling skills were combined with his small stature (1.65 m or 5 ft 5 in), which gave him a low centre of gravity allowing him to manoeuvre better than most other football players; he would often dribble past multiple opposing players on a run. His presence and leadership on the field had a great effect on his team’s general performance, while he would often be singled out by the opposition. In addition to his creative abilities, he also possessed an eye for goal and was known to be a free-kick specialist. A precocious talent, Maradona was given the nickname “El Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Boy”), a name that stuck with him throughout his career.
An advanced playmaker who operated in the classic number 10 position, Maradona was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice, first when he transferred to Barcelona for a then-world record £5 million, and second, when he transferred to Napoli for another record fee £6.9 million. He played for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys during his club career, and is most famous for his time at Napoli and Barcelona where he won numerous accolades.
In his international career with Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. Maradona played in four FIFA World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where he captained Argentina and led them to victory over West Germany in the final, and won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
In the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, he scored both goals in a 2–1 victory over England that entered football history for two different reasons. The first goal was an unpenalized handling foul known as the “Hand of God”, while the second goal followed a 60 m (66 yd) dribble past five England players, voted “Goal of the Century” by FIFA.com voters in 2002.
Maradona was responsible for the infamous ‘Hand of God’ that eliminated England from the 1986 tournament.
Replays showed that Maradona fisted, rather than headed, the ball into the net, a foul the referee missed. The Argentine No. 10 dedicated the goal to the “hand of God”.
Maradona became the coach of Argentina’s national football team in November 2008. He was in charge of the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before leaving at the end of the tournament. He then coached Dubai-based club Al Wasl in the UAE Pro-League for the 2011–12 season. In 2017, Maradona became the coach of Fujairah before leaving at the end of the season. In May 2018, Maradona was announced as the new chairman of Belarusian club Dynamo Brest. He arrived in Brest and was presented by the club to start his duties in July. From September 2018 to June 2019, Maradona was coach of Mexican club Dorados. He was the coach of Argentine Primera División club Gimnasia de La Plata from 2019 until his death.