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Maradona's life, in pictures

By Rediff Sports
November 26, 2020 12:21 IST
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Diego Maradona

IMAGE: Diego Maradona holds aloft the World Cup after Argentina's 3-2 victory over West Germany in ther 1986 final. Photograph: Juha Tamminen/Reuters
 

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.

Diego Maradona

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.

Diego Maradona

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.

Diego Maradona

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.

Diego Maradona

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.

Diego Maradona

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.

Diego Maradona

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.

'Certainly, one day we'll kick a ball together in the sky above,' Pele said.

Diego Maradona

IMAGE: Maradona smokes a Cohiba cigar as he rides a sail boat in the waters off Havana. Don't miss the Che tattoo on his arm. Like Maradona, Dr Ernesto 'Che' Guavera was also an Argentine. Photograph: Reuters

Years of drug use, overeating and alcoholism truncated a stellar career and altered his appearance from the lithe athlete who could slalom effortlessly through teams to a bloated addict who nearly died of cocaine-induced heart failure in 2000.

But he reinvented himself in a stunning comeback in 2008 as coach of the Argentina team, persuading managers that with sheer charisma he could inspire the team to victory, despite a lack of coaching experience.

Lionel Messi

IMAGE: Maradona hugs Lionel Messi after Germany won the 2010 World Cup quarter-final against Argentina at the Green Point stadium in Cape Town, July 3, 2010. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

'A very sad day for all Argentinians and for football,' Lionel Messi said in a tribute. 'He has left us but he isn't going anywhere because Diego is eternal.'

Maradona and Messi worked together when the Diego managed the Argentine national team for two years -- between 2008 and 2010.

Diego Maradona

IMAGE: Maradona waves to fans in Kolkata, December 6, 2008. Photograph: Parth Sanyal/Reuters

'Today I say goodbye to a friend,' Cristiano Ronaldo said, 'and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius.'

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