Maradona cemented his global fame in 1986 with his “Hand of God” World Cup goal against England.
Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack.
He went into cardiac arrest at his home in Tigre, Buenos Aires, on Tuesday, November 25.
Maradona’s shocking death comes a few weeks after he underwent surgery earlier this month for a blood clot in his brain.
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning for Diego Maradona, one of the greatest football players of all time and an Argentine icon.
The president shared a photo of himself hugging Maradona on Twitter, writing: “You took us to the highest place in the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all. Thanks for existing, Diego. We are going to miss you the rest of our lives.”
Diego Maradona played 490 official club games during his 21-year professional career and scored a total of 259 goals. He played 91 games and scored 34 goals for the Argentine national team.
He was the captain of Argentina’s football team when they won the 1986 World Cup against England, displaying a sublime level of skill, creativity, and strength and scoring one of the most infamous goals of all time.
In addition to 1986, Maradona made appearances in the World Cup on the Argentine national team in 1982, 1990, and 1994.
Diego Maradona’s early career
Born in Buenos Aires on October 30, 1960, the icon began his career in football at age 10. He first joined Los Cebollitas, a youth team of Argentinos Juniors, and helped them enjoy a 136-game winning streak. Ten days before his 16th birthday in 1976, he made his first-division debut.
Four months later, on February 27, 1977, he debuted with Argentina’s national football team as a 65th-minute substitute, making history as the youngest Argentine to ever do so.
The team left him off the squad for the 1978 World Cup due to his age, but the following year, he led the under-20 national team to victory in the Junior World Cup.
In 1981, he helped Boca Juniors clinch the championship before moving to Europe and joining FC Barcelona in 1982 for a record-breaking fee of over $6.6 million. He helped the club win the Spanish Cup in 1983.
From 1984 to 1991, Diego Maradona enjoyed a successful run with Italian club SSC Napoli, elevating its status to one of the best in the country. With Maradona on the field, Napoli won the league title and cup in 1987, as well as the 1990 league title.
Trials and triumphs
Throughout his time with Napoli, however, he found himself plagued by a cocaine addiction. In 1991, he received a 15-month suspension due to drug violations and left the Italian club that year. He was also unable to finish the World Cup in the US in 1994 after testing positive for ephedrine, receiving another suspension for drug violations.
After leaving Napoli, Diego Maradona played for Spain’s Sevilla FC and Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina. He returned to Boca Juniors in 1995 and played his last match on October 25, 1997.
Maradona experienced health issues after retiring and was hospitalized for heart problems in 2000. He returned to the hospital in 2004, again for heart problems, and required a respirator to breathe properly. In 2005, suffering from obesity, he underwent gastric-bypass surgery.
He went on to serve as a successful manager of the Argentine national team for two years and brought the team to victory in the 2010 World Cup.
FIFA named the football legend Player of the Century in 2000 and he earned South American Footballer of the Year on five occasions.
Upon learning of Maradona’s death, Napoli spokesperson Nicola Lombardo said the club is in mourning, according to ESPN. “We feel like a boxer who has been knocked out. We are in shock.”
The club posted on Twitter: “Everyone is waiting for words from us. But what words could be possible for pain as strong as that we are currently experiencing? Now is the time for tears. Later, it will be words.”