Argentine football star Diego Maradona left the world on November 25, 2020, after suffering a heart attack in his Buenos Aires home.
Diego Maradona spent his life as a professional football player, earning him a reputation as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Therefore, his death on November 25, 2020, plunged his home country, Argentina, and the world of football at large into a state of mourning.
Football fans worldwide utilized various platforms to pay tribute to the lost legend, who was considered somewhat a deity in his country due to his escapades on the field.
Despite his legendary antics on the field, Diego Maradona’s life off-the-pitch was always a disaster waiting to happen. As a special tribute to the legend, here is a brief account of his life on earth.
THE STORY OF A LEGEND
Diego Maradona, born October 30, 1960, in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, came from humble beginnings. He grew up in Villa Fiorito, as the fifth of eight children born to Diego Maradona Chitoro and Dalma Salvadora.
Having received his first soccer ball as a present at age three, the icon developed an interest in the game from infancy. He made a hobby of kicking an orange or a folded newspaper on the street while running errands. The habit became the star’s first football tutorial and ultimately helped build his unmatched skills.
A talent scout spotted Maradona when he was seven and enlisted him into the youth team of the Argentinos Juniors, Los Cebollitas.
DIEGO MARADONA AS A CHILD GENIUS
While in the junior team, Maradona proved himself as a child genius. He performed exceedingly well on the peach, leading his team to a 136-game winning streak.
His incredible feat in Los Cebollitas earned him the nickname El Pibe de Oro, which translates to “The Golden Boy” in English.
The star eventually joined the Argentinos Juniors days before his sixteenth birthday, marking his professional debut. Thus, he became the youngest player in history to play in the Argentine Primera Division.
The football veteran spent five years in Argentinos Juniors, scoring a record 115 goals in 167 appearances. His accomplishments made him highly sought-after by many top clubs with mouth-watering offers.
In 1981, he signed a $4 million contract with Boca Juniors, a team he always wanted to play for. He played with the local team until 1982, when he secured a transfer to Barcelona, Spain, for a record €5 million. His time in Barcelona was a rough one.
He suffered a bout of Hepatitis, a broken ankle, a leg injury, and lack of acceptance, all of which he recovered from. However, the strain exposed him to a life of drugs, fostering a cocaine addiction that would plague him for the rest of his life.
Maradona left Barcelona for Napoli in 1984, under a €6.9 million deal. He led the team to several victories for years, attaining the peak of his career. After failing a drug test, which landed him a 15-months ban from football, the star left the team in disgrace in 1992.
He went on to sign with Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys before returning to Boca Juniors for two seasons. The star later served as vice president of the Boca Juniors in 2005, following his retirement from the pitch. Additionally, he landed managerial positions with teams like Mandiyu, Al Wasl FC, Dorados, and Gimnasia de La Plata, and coached the Argentine national team for about half a decade.
THE HAND OF GOD
Maradona’s international career and world cup games were just as adventurous as his club performances.
He led the Argentina national team to several victories, achieved several feats, and scored the world-famous goal against England by famously striking the ball with his hand. The move came to be known widely as “The Hand Of God.”
The match happened in the wake of the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Scoring the winning goals against England permanently sealed Maradona as a hero in the heart of every Argentine. According to the icon, the victory came at the right time and served as well-deserved revenge against the U.K for the spoils of the Falkland War.
MARADONA’S PERSONAL LIFE
The football legend married his childhood sweetheart, Claudia Villafañe, on November 7, 1984. Their union yielded two daughters, Dalma Nerea and Gianinna Dinorah. Sadly, Diego Maradona and his wife divorced in 2004, after two decades together.
Aside from his kids with Villafañe, the late icon also had a son, Diego Sinagra, from another woman. He publicly acknowledged Sinagra as his son in 2004, while processing his divorce from his ex-wife.
Diego Maradona’s son went on to become a footballer like his father, playing in Italy.
DIEGO MARADONA’S NET WORTH
Despite his accrued taxes and unpaid debts worth over €37 million in his lifetime, Diego Maradona had an estimated net worth of $100,000 as of November 2020.
DIEGO MARADONA’S DEATH
Maradona underwent emergency brain surgery on November 3, 2020, following his hospitalization the previous day. Doctors discharged him on November 12, after the successful procedure to treat his subdural hematoma.
However, days after his discharge, the football legend died in his home in Tigre, Buenos Aires, from a heart attack at age sixty. Notable figures around the world joined Argentines in mourning his loss with heartfelt tributes.
The Argentinian president, Alberto Fernandez, declared three days of national mourning in honor of the deceased. For the duration of the mourning period, Maradona’s coffin laid in state at the presidential mansion.
Grieving fans stormed the location in their numbers to deposit farewell items around the casket while paying their last respects to the greatest footballer of all time.