RIP, Diego Maradona. You’ve Sent the World Into Mourning

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RIP, Diego Maradona. You’ve Sent the World Into Mourning

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Legendary footballer Diego Maradona died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Wednesday. The 60-year-old had earlier had an emergency operation for a subdural hematoma, which is an accumulation of blood between a membrane and his brain.The world of football, and beyond, went into mourning.

As news of his death circulated around the world, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez called for three days of national mourning while UEFA, soccer’s governing body in Europe, announced there would be a minute of silence before its Champions League and Europa League games this week.

Tributes for the GOAT poured from all around the world.

Pele, the Brazilian football legend, who had often engaged in a war of words with Maradona, wrote, “What sad news. 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.”

Lionel Messi, Maradona’s rightful heir in Argentinian football, said “he has left but he can never leave us, because Diego is eternal.” The Barcelona superstar offered his condolences to his family and friends.

 

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“Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius. One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician. 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,” wrote Cristiano Ronaldo.

Maradona is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. The pinnacle of his career was achieved when he won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986. The infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal that he scored to eliminate England is a subject of colourful discussion even three decades later. For some, it was a moment of divine intervention; for others, Maradona was a cheat.

Minutes later, Maradona scored what was later voted as “The Goal of The Century,” as he masterfully dribbled past English players as if they didn’t exist on the pitch.

Maradona also donned the jersey for Boca Juniors, Barcelona, and Napoli among others, at the club level. While he won many trophies and accolades with various clubs, Diego’s cult and impact transcended far beyond the football pitch. Not only did he come to be known for his skill and genius on the pitch, but also excesses off it, whether consumptions of drugs or friendships in the underworld. 

The streets of Naples to this day, feature Maradona graffiti. Shops sell souvenirs from his time at the club and everyone has a story to tell about “The People’s Champ”, from the time he played at the iconic Italian club. Napoli has announced that it would rename the San Paolo Stadium to honour Diego Maradona.

Maradona was loved by all. He is one of the very few Barcelona players to get a standing ovation at the Bernabéu. Even bitter rivals couldn’t help but admire and celebrate his art.

For Maradona, politics was a crucial part of life. He was an admirer of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and had a tattoo of Fidel on his left leg apart from the famous Che Guevara on his right arm. He always spoke for the poor and was a vocal supporter of leftist politicians in Latin America.

The last memory most fans have of Diego Maradona is from the 2018 World Cup, where he danced with a Nigerian fan, posed with a painting of himself, enacted the Wakanda sign, showed someone the middle finger and then had to be carried away to the hospital. In a nutshell, that was Diego Armando Maradona.

Diego spoke what he thought, emoted what he felt, supported what he liked and consumed what he wished. He was raw, real and lived every moment of his life. Rest in peace, Diego.

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