Maradona: the life and afterlife of a global icon

Maradona, a pop culture icon
Back in Buenos Aires
The cause of Maradona's death
Maradona, an idol with humble origins
He had seven siblings
First professional match at age 15
Icon of the Argentine national team
World champions in 1986
He wore Napoli blue more than anything else
Naples won the Italian championship with Maradona
Maradona is like a saint in Naples
Maradona's problems
Health issues
Maradona's indomitable character
'Pibe de Oro' - Golden Boy
Unrivalled international footballer
Maradona's personal life
Maradona and Fidel Castro
His connections with communist icons
Maradona, 1960-2020: his legend lives on
Maradona, a pop culture icon

All over the world, sports fans commemorate Armando Diego Maradona, the Argentine football champion and pop culture icon.

Back in Buenos Aires

Diego Armando Maradona is back in the place where his humble origins lay. Sixty years after his birth in a shantytown near Buenos Aires, the football player is laid to rest in the Argentine capital.

The cause of Maradona's death

The former athlete died of heart failure while he was sleeping. He had long suffered from heart and vascular problems, despite his young age.

Maradona, an idol with humble origins

Maradona was born on October 30, 1960 in a working-class family. From that modest environment, he was catapulted into global fame thanks to his talent with the ball .

He had seven siblings

Maradona was the fifth of eight children. Two of his brothers were also footballers, although without they did not have Diego's luck and talent.

First professional match at age 15

Shortly before his 16th birthday, Maradona played his first football game in the Argentinean First Division. He played for Argentinos Juniors against Talleres on October 20, 1976.

Icon of the Argentine national team

Soon enough, Maradona would climb division ranks and become a star in the national team. He wore the Argentine shirt on 91 occasions, scoring 34 goals.

World champions in 1986

The absolute summum was the global championship for Argentina in 1986. Maradona had the reputation of a global superstar.

"The hand of God"

Many even excused his famous (and illegitimate) handball goal in the Argentina-England match in that same tournament. Maradona said that it was "the hand of God" that brought the ball into the English goal. Few others would have gotten away with it.

He wore Napoli blue more than anything else

Over the course of the 80s and early 90s, Maradona played in several European top clubs. One of them was F.C. Barcelona in Spain. Another was the Italian club SSC Napoli, associated with the humble southern city of Naples. Maradona played more matches with Napoli than with any other team in his career.

Naples won the Italian championship with Maradona

Maradona lifted the team to the highest national level and helped them win the Italian championship for the first time in 1987.

Maradona is like a saint in Naples

SCC Napoli fans still regard Maradona as a near-religious icon.

Maradona's problems

Problems with toxic substances caused many a crisis in Maradona's life.

Health issues

His weight and temperament would change as often as his hairstyle and financial status. Both on and off the field, he could behave like an indomitable rebel.

 

Maradona and other millionaire athletes who fell into ruin

Maradona's indomitable character

Maradona was capable of picking a fight whenever the occasion suggested it. Sometimes he fought literally, like the day he threw punches in the final of the Spanish Copa del Rey in 1984. He played with F.C. Barcelona against Athletic de Bilbao, and King Juan Carlos I himself was in the stadium. Afterwards, Maradona apologized to the king.

'Pibe de Oro' - Golden Boy

Maradona's football talent, however, was rarely affected. Until his very last game, he played like a genius. It was October 25, 1997, and the club was Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires.

Unrivalled international footballer

Despite his temperament and drug abuse, no one in the world of football ever denied Maradona's status as a genius. 'Maradona' has remained a name of international glory. Together with Pelé, he was (and still is) considered "the best player in the world."

Maradona's personal life

In the image we see Maradona with Rocío Oliva, one of the women with whom he had a sentimental relationship. The footballer's private life was as hectic as his professional life. With Claudia Villafañe he had his two daughters, Dalma and Gianinna, but he faced several other paternity claims throughout his life.

Maradona and Fidel Castro

Maradona had a special friendship with the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. He went to Cuba regularly to recover after seasons of tough football or excessive bad habits.

His connections with communist icons

As a curious coincidence, Castro and Maradona died on the same day. The Cuban communist passed away on 25 November 2016 and Maradona exactly four years later.

Maradona, 1960-2020: his legend lives on

With Maradona the world has lost an iconic figure. He's part of global pop culture, and his status goes far beyond that of a great sportsman.