Diego Maradona Takes an Exit as a Legend leaving a Generation Glass Eyed
Diego Armando Maradona (30 October, 1960 – 25 November, 2020) was perhaps the greatest and most vibrant footballer to have ever graced the field. On his day, the Argentine maestro was unstoppable, making defenders tumble and often turning them upside-down. His skills on the football pitch captivated the audience world-over for well over a decade, inspiring a million others to follow in the legend's footsteps. As a result, today, a large chunk of the current A-rated professional footballers considers Diego Maradona as their childhood hero.
The Entire Sports Fraternity Mourns his Death
For once, on 25 November 2020, the entire world of sports got united in mourning at the news of the death of the Football God Diego Armando Maradona. In the last couple of weeks, Diego Maradona battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma several weeks ago. The legend finally succumbed to a Cardiac Arrest on Wednesday in his residence at the age of 60. It was a shocking end to one of the greatest that ever graced the field of football.
Here is how the entire world reacted from social media and elsewhere:
The Argentina government declared a three-day national mourning for the legend that was pivotal in the success of Argentina's 1986 Football World Cup victory. The country is yet to win a World Cup since 1986.
The Football fanatic state of India Kerala also declared a two days state mourning for the legend. Diego Maradona visited Kerala only once in his life back in 2012.
Lionel Messi wrote on Instagram: "A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. "He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal. "I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I wanted to take the opportunity to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP."
"The Hand of God, Maradona has left us. In 86, we both won our championships. They use to compare the two of us. He was one of my hero's and a friend. I respected him so much. He will be greatly missed," tweeted former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
David Beckham also took to Instagram to share his picture with Maradona and wrote: "A sad day for Argentina and a sad day for football as we celebrate the greatness of what this man gave us... Someone that played with passion, spirit and was nothing less than a pure genius... I was so excited to meet Diego and we will all miss him Rest in peace."
"One of the greatest icons of the game Diego Maradona passes away, a very sad day for world sports. Condolences to his family, friends and well-wishers," said VVS Laxman – former Indian Batsman.
"I grew up watching football in the 80s and there was only one man that had me awestruck and that was the GREATEST Diego Maradona! Sad day for all of us hearing about your passing. Rest in Glory... you were the BEST! #goat," said Cricketing legend Brian Lara in an Instagram post.
"The man has left us. His magic, madness and legend never will," tweeted Indian football star Sunil Chhetri.
The story of Diego Maradona's life began when he was born in the slum area in the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires on 30 October 1960. By the age of 16, Diego Maradona, from his humble beginnings, first started to get the spotlight when he was playing for Argentinos Juniors. The teenage striker bagged 115 goals in just 167 appearances for the club. This paved the way for his first big move to Argentina's most decorated club Boca Juniors, in 1981. Interests from Europe soon followed, and it was FC Barcelona that, in the end, grabbed the Argentine maestro. After spending two very tumultuous seasons at FC Barcelona, his tenure at the Catalan Giants ended in a very nasty note in a brawl that triggered crowd trouble in the 1984 Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao.
It was at this moment, FC Napoli from the Italian Serie A division signed Maradona up. It turned out to be a match made in heaven, as it was at Napoli where Diego Maradona started to forge the legend he is today.
The Demi-god of Napoli
When Diego Maradona first joined Napoli, the club was struggling to be relegated to division two and barely had any high goals other than to consistently survive in Serie A. A great charismatic leader – Diego Maradona, totally transformed the club's mentality and playing style. In total, Diego Maradona spent 7 seasons for Napoli, where he singlehandedly spearheaded the club to two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, and one UEFA Cup – scoring 115 goals in the process.
The fact is that the club based in Naples is yet to emulate the feat achieved under the leadership of Diego Maradona. Although a stable club in Serie A now, FC Napoli has not even won a single league title since Maradona left.
Maradona's impact has been so great on the city of Naples that it has an entire street dedicated to Diego Maradona!
1986 Quarter Final: "Hand of God" and the "Goal of the Century."
The story of Diego Maradona is incomplete without mentioning the famous 1986 Quarterfinal match between England and Argentina. It was here where Maradona showed his ugly, vibrant character and the sheer brilliance and magic that he possessed.
It was in this match against England where Diego Maradona would score infamously with his hands from a corner, which went down in Football folklore as the "Hand of God" – a term which Maradona himself said first to a British reporter later that day after the match.
However, many of us are still not aware of the fact that moments later, just 5 minutes after the goal that should have been disallowed in the first place, Maradona would go on to score the wonder goal, which was years later voted as the "Goal of the Century" courtesy of a poll conducted by FIFA.
A simple pass from one of his teammates in the halfway line, 60 yards away from the goal
- Maradona picked the ball and started to dash forward like a child taking on and beating one English defender after another; he would go on to take on 8 English players in total before sliding the ball past the goalkeeper from a somewhat narrow-angle into the back of the net.