The world of football is mourning the death of one of its greatest ever players – Diego Armando Maradona, who died at the age of just 60. A footballing legend, he will always be remembered here in the UK for that infamous “Hand of God” goal when Argentina beat England in the 1986 World Cup.
Peter Shilton, the England goalkeeper who was on the receiving end of the incident, still refuses to forgive the Argentinian for not admitting his misdeed. He did, however, hours after the reported passing of Maradona, say that he was the greatest footballer he ever played against and sent his condolences to his grieving family.
However unjust that goal was, there can be no denying the quality of Maradona’s second goal which sealed England’s fate in that same game. Collecting the ball in his own half, the Argentinian No 10 set off on a mesmerising dribble at breakneck speed, beating five England players before slotting the ball home past a stranded Peter Shilton. It earned him the goal of the century award.
Maradona played for Boca Juniors, but will be remembered for the seven years he spent at Italian club, Napoli. Those two goals against England we just a part of the man’s legacy, some of the best moments of which are captured in this video.
The tributes have of course been pouring in since the news of his death, none more poignant than the one from fellow countryman Lionel Messi, himself a great footballer and top of the pack when it comes Europe’s deadliest strikers. He claims that Maradona is the greatest ever, and another great player, Zinedine Zidane, also said of Maradona that he was on another level.
Other big names in the football also expressed their sadness over his death.
- Lionel Messi said, “Diego is eternal.”
- Cristiano Ronaldo – “The world farewells an eternal genius, an unmatched magician.”
- Pele said, “We have lost a legend. We will play soccer together in the sky.”
- Pep Guardiola said, “On the pitch he was unique. A once in a generation genius. It is sad news.”
- Jurgen Klopp said, “From an international point of view there’s Pele, Maradona, and Messi.”
- Jose Mourinho said, “Don Diego, damn dude, I miss you.”
Mourinho’s predecessor at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino, a fellow Argentinian, was lucky enough to play beside him for Argentina and was his roommate. He said that Maradona was his hero and his friend and that he was so fortunate to have been able to share football and life with him.
At the San Paolo Stadium, the Napoli team paid their respects by lining up in Number 10 shirts for a minute’s silence before their Europa League match against Rijeka. In Argentina, Maradona’s coffin was draped with the national flag in a sign of the country’s respect for the man.
Yes, he was flawed. His hand of God goal followed him everywhere, and in retirement, he had drug problems. We have seen problems like this before. Remember George Best and his fight with alcoholism?
Diego Maradona, died from a heart attack at his home in Buenos Aires just hours after telling his nephew that he didn’t feel well, Just two weeks prior he had been released from hospital after suffering a blood clot on his brain.