People decorate a statue of Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona before a prayer meeting, in Kolkata, India, November 26, 2020. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri
Diego Maradona, the Argentine soccer great who scored the “Hand of God” goal in 1986 and led his country to that year's World Cup title before later struggling with cocaine use and obesity, has died. He was 60.
Maradona's spokesman, Sebastián Sanchi, said he died Wednesday of a heart attack, two weeks after being released from a hospital in Buenos Aires following brain surgery.
The office of Argentina's president said it will decree three days of national mourning, and the Argentine soccer association expressed its sorrow on Twitter.
Maradona captivated fans around the world over a two-decade career with a bewitching style of play that was all his own.
Although his reputation was tarnished by his addictions and an ill-fated spell in charge of the national team, he remained idolized in soccer-mad Argentina as the “Pibe de Oro” or “Golden Boy.”
"You took us to the top of the world,” Argentine President Alfredo Fernández said on social media. “You made us incredibly happy. You were the greatest of all.”
People gather to mourn the death of soccer legend Diego Maradona, outside the Diego Armando Maradona stadium, in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Martin Villar
The No. 10 he wore on his jersey became synonymous with him, as it also had with Pelé, the Brazilian great with whom Maradona was regularly paired as the best of all time.
"What sad news," Pele said Wednesday. "I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky."
Olympics superstar Usain Bolt also shared his condolences, posting a picture with Diego on his Twitter.
Screenshot from Twitter
Cristiano Ronaldo posted a heartfelt farewell, calling Maradona a friend, genius, magician and "one of the best ever."
"Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius."
"He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten."
Cristiano Ronaldo and Maradona. Courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo
Maradona said he was given a soccer ball soon after he could run.
"I was 3 years old and I slept hugging that ball all night,” he said.
A rose is placed next to a banner of Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona as fans gather to mourn his death, at the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, Argentina November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
Bold, fast and utterly unpredictable, Maradona was a master of attack, juggling the ball easily from one foot to the other as he raced upfield. Dodging and weaving with his low center of gravity, he shrugged off countless rivals and often scored with a devastating left foot, his most powerful weapon.
In 2001, FIFA named Maradona one of the two greatest in the sport’s history, alongside Pelé.
Maradona reaped titles at home and abroad, playing in the early 1980s for Argentinos Juniors and Boca Juniors before moving on to Spanish and Italian clubs. His crowning achievement came at the 1986 World Cup, captaining Argentina in its 3-2 win over West Germany in the final and decisive in a 2-1 victory against England in a feisty quarterfinal match.
In fact, his "Hand of God" goal against England during the 1986 World Cup is one of the most famous moments in soccer history.
Maradona was tracking down a ball and slyly used his hand to punch it over the goalkeeper into the net -- while pretending his hand never actually touched it. His acting job worked and the goal counted!
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro meets former Argentine soccer player Diego Armando Maradona in Havana April 13, 2013, in this picture released by Cuban website Cubadebate on April 15, 2013. Courtesy of Cubadebate/Handout via REUTERS
"I am Maradona, who makes goals, who makes mistakes. I can take it all, I have shoulders big enough to fight with everybody," Maradona once said.
"You can say a lot of things about me, but you can never say I don't take risks."
年初一代篮球传奇 年末一代足球之王 今年这是怎么了！