Diego Armando Maradona, who died on Wednesday, less than a month after his 60th birthday, was worshipped like a god for his genius with the ball.
Maradona suffered a heart attack at his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
IMAGE: Maradona, left, steps over West German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher in the first half of the World Cup final in Mexico, June 29, 1986. Photograph: Reuters
Beloved in his homeland after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 and adored in Italy for taking Napoli to two Serie A titles, Maradona was a uniquely gifted player who rose from the tough streets of Buenos Aires to reach the pinnacle of his sport.
IMAGE: Maradona, wife Claudia Villafane, their daughters Giannina Dinora, left, and Dalma Nerea, third from left, on the day of their civil wedding in Buenos Aires, November 7, 1989. Photograph: Reuters
Maradona ended his playing career in Argentina, returning to Boca. He had a brief and controversy-packed spell as the Argentine national team coach from 2008 to 2010 before coaching clubs in the Middle East and Mexico.
IMAGE: At Havana’s Revolution Palace, October 29, 2001, Maradona shows his tattoo of Castro to Castro. Photograph: Alfredo Tedeschi/Reuters
Maradona said Fidel Castro — whom he considered a ‘second father’ and whose face he had tattooed on his leg — once urged him to go into politics.
IMAGE: Maradona on the red carpet before the screening of Serbian director Emir Kusturica’s Maradona by Kusturica at the Cannes film festival, May 20, 2008. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters
Though he never fulfilled Castro’s expectations of him, Maradona championed leftist leaders in Latin America like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales.
IMAGE: Maradona leaves a courthouse after answering charges he shot and injured journalists outside his country home in the city of Mercedes, 100 kilometres from Buenos Aires, March 15, 1994. Photograph: Reuters
‘Everything Fidel does, everything Chavez does for me is the best (that can be done),’ Maradona said on the Venuzuelan leader’s television show in 2007.
IMAGE: Pele and Diego Maradona — the greatest footballers of the 20th century — at an event on the eve of the opening of the 2016 European Championship in Paris, June 9, 2016. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters
Pele, the Brazilian legend and the only player to have come close to Maradona’s skill level, was quick to pay tribute to the Argentine.
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