Diego Maradona, Football Legend, Dead at 60
Posted by: Erin Ward in Notable Deaths | December 10, 2020
Soccer Player and Coach
October 30, 1960 — November 25, 2020
Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona passed away at the age of 60 after having a heart attack in his home. Maradona has long been considered one of, if not the greatest professional soccer players of all time. Alongside fellow soccer star Pelé, Maradona was awarded the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award for his achievements on the pitch.
Maradona grew up in a shantytown on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires. At the age of eight he was discovered by a talent scout while playing soccer for his neighborhood club. Over the following years, he became a star player as a member of the junior team of Buenos Aires’ Argentinos Juniors.
Ten days before his 16th birthday, Maradona made his professional debut playing for Argentinos Juniors. This opportunity made Maradona the youngest player in Argentina’s professional soccer league. He played with his first club until 1981 and scored 115 goals in 167 games. He then was transferred to Boca Juniors, the team he always dreamed of playing for as a youth.
Following the 1982 World Cup, Maradona was transferred to Barcelona. At the time, the $7.6 million transfer fee paid to acquire Maradona was the largest in the history of professional soccer. Over the next two years, Maradona played in 58 games and scored 38 goals for the club. In 1983, the club won Spain’s annual national cup championship and the Spanish Super Cup tournament.
In 1984, Maradona was transferred to Napoli for another world record setting transfer fee. While playing with Napoli, Maradona reached the peak of his career. Soon after joining the club, he was named the captain of the team. The team would go on to win the Serie A Italian Championship during the 1986-1987 and 1989-1990 seasons.
Maradona not only played in premier soccer leagues around the world, he also starred in international competition. He represented Argentina as a member of the world cup teams in 1982, 1986, 1990, and 1994.
The highlight of his international career came in 1986 where Maradona was instrumental in helping Argentina win the FIFA World Cup. During the 1986 tournament, Maradona was at the center of controversy when he scored twice during a quarterfinal game to beat England 2-1. During the game, Maradona scored what has since been called the “Hand of God” goal where he scored the first goal of the game with his fist. Shortly after, he scored a second goal where he maneuvered his way through several defenders before scoring what many have called the “goal of the century.”
Maradona was regarded by many as the greatest player of his generation. Many people consider him to be one of the most skilled players of all time.
Maradona was married once during his life but divorced his wife in 2004. He is survived by his two daughters and a son. Maradona was very close with his family during his life. During a 1990 interview with Sports Illustrated, he showed phone bills where he was spending at least $15,000 per month to call his parents and siblings back home.