Diego Maradona Died: 25 November 2020, Tigre, Argentina was football’s archetypal troubled genius, a world-beating player whose life and career scaled the most dazzling heights but also plumbed the darkest depths.
Maradona, who died of a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 60, became a global icon after leading Argentina to the 1986 World Cup but he was not a squeaky clean idol like Pele, and made little attempt to hide his fiery personality and many vices.
“I am black or white, I’ll never be grey in my life,” he once said.
Maradona was short, powerful and quick. He was also a ferocious and astute competitor who refused to be intimidated even though many opponents tried. Above all, he was sublimely and imaginatively skilful.
“No ball ever had a better experience than when it was at his left foot,” said his Argentina teammate Jorge Valdano.
However, while Maradona is remembered for his masterly composure on the ball, he was also famous for his frequent lack of control both on the field and off. He struggled with addiction, notably to cocaine, and with his weight.
Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1960, in Lanus, just outside Buenos Aires, and grew up in one of the poorest areas of the Argentine capital. He made his debut for Argentinos Juniors just before his 16th birthday and his debut for Argentina at age 16 in February, 1977.
His career is defined by the World Cup, the four he played in and the one he missed.
“I have two dreams,” Maradona told Argentine television at the age of 17. “My first dream is to play in the World Cup. And the second dream is to win it.”
His senior World Cup debut in 1982 in Spain went badly. Maradona was treated brutally by defenders and ended his tournament with a red card for retaliation as Argentina, already eliminated, lost to Brazil.
He atoned four years later, propelling his country to victory in Mexico and making the tournament his own.
In the final, Maradona set up the 86th-minute winner against West Germany. He scored twice in the semi-final against Belgium, beating four defenders for the second.