The passing away of the greatest player of all time Diego Armando Maradona, at the age of 60 indeed heartache like no other for his millions of admirers all around the globe. The grief of India, especially Kolkata would definitely drown in the sea of mourning for “El Pibe de Ora” (the Golden boy) for we, as a country, do not belong among footballs’ elite. Grief knows no boundaries and soccer fans across the world poured into the streets to remember their fallen hero the star striker Diego Armando Maradona, after his death from a heart attack.
People worshiped Maradona like a god for his genius with the ball, but his demons almost destroyed him. Growing in a grimy Buenos Aires slum to lead Argentina to World Cup victory, Maradona was a rags-to-riches story in his soccer-mad homeland and gained the iconic status symbol like fellow Argentines Che Guevara and Evita Peron.
Diego Armando Maradona was born in Argentina in 1960 and grew up in the slums outside of Buenos Aires with his seven brothers and sisters. It’s beyond any one’s imagination how much really tough childhood and poverty he carried. And it was a time when people did not have toilets in their homes; he had to go outside to go to the toilet. And when he was a kid, he fell in a cesspit. A cesspit is like an outside toilet. And he nearly drowned.
At age 10, he was spotted by a talent scout. At 16, he was selected for the first time in Argentina’s national team. During the 1981-1982 season, he scored 28 goals in 40 games with the Boca Juniors team and became a star in his country. At 23, He was transferred from Barcelona to Naples for $9 million. “I am not an artist, simply a soccer player. A soccer player who plays a bit bitter than the others. The prices are decided upon by the bosses. I don’t know if I am well-paid or not” said Maradona. But if you ask Maradona, he will tell you he is worth a lot more than 14 billion lira.
At 25, He won the World Cup, held in Mexico in 1986, and won the award for the best player in the competition. His “hand of God” that allowed them to eliminate England in the quarterfinals became legendary. So Diego Maradona is the best footballer of all time, OK? No matter what you have heard or seen, he is the best football player of all time. He had the most dramatic life, he won the world cup, pretty much, he was the best player of a bad team. He won it on his own.
Three years later, his trophy was stolen by the Naples mafia and melted to make gold bars. In 1991, he tested positive for cocaine and three years later, for ephedrine at the 1994 World Cup in the US. Maradona in his own words said to the Press..the first time took cocaine, I was suspended, which was right, I made a mistake. I won’t try to deny that. But the second time, I think it’s really unfair, completely unfair because ephedrine has no effect.
At 34, he received an honorary Golden Ball. Two years later, back with the Boca Juniors team, he tested positive for cocaine again, which ended his career as a soccer player. On October 30, 1998, three Argentine citizens founded the “Church of Maradona.” It’s quite logical. Soccer is a religion. Every religion has a god, we are paying homage to his life, said Alejandro Veron, cofounder of the Church of Maradona. But if you ask Maradona, he says I am not a god, I am just a simple soccer player.
But for me, having grown up in Kolkata, it’s a moment of tears and words. Diego is the greatest player on the pitch, his life off the pitch was equally colorful — amid battles with drug and alcohol addiction.
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