Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60. The news of his passing was met with a tremendous outpouring of grief and disbelief. The president of his native Argentina declared three days of mourning, illustrating just how much of an impact the man aptly nicknamed “God” had.
Let’s pay tribute to this giant of the game by remembering his most outstanding performances. His two masterstrokes against England at the 1986 World Cup, the day he transcended sports.
The Ultimate Entertainer
Diego Maradona was already a household name when Argentina traveled to Mexico for soccer’s showpiece event. Revered in Naples for his exploits with SSC Napoli, he would lead Gli Azzurri to their first-ever league title the following year. He captained an unfancied, mediocre La Albiceleste side at the 1986 World Cup.
A global audience watched on as El Pibe de Oro (the golden boy) ascended to divinity. Diego Maradona starred as Argentina cruised to the knockout round with dazzling footwork, mind-boggling close control, and a seemingly inexhaustible fountain of creativity. In the quarter-finals, he would take center stage, showing both sides of Diego Maradona. The pesky and the stunningly brilliant.
The Hand Of God
Just after halftime, with the game still scoreless, Diego Maradona drove through the midfield, picked out a teammate, and continued his run into the box. The ball fortuitously found its way back to the diminutive magician, who leaped above legendary goalkeeper Peter Shilton and punched it into the back of the net. His transgression went unnoticed by the officials. The infamous “Hand of God” was born.
This iconic moment in soccer history perfectly encapsulates the polarizing aspect of El Diego. He was a master of the dark arts, and made a habit of breaking the rules on and off the pitch—a debauchee with little time for moderation and a recusant with a bias for overstepping the line.
Diego Maradona’s Goal Of The Century
Moments later, as he received the ball and took off on a marauding run once more, the world held its breath. Then, one by one, he bypassed the English backline with unsettling repose before rounding Shilton. Within four minutes, Diego Maradona had brought England and their manager Bobby Robson to its knees. It felt as though the planet had come to a standstill. Disbelief palpably gripped the astonished spectators.
The “Goal of the Century” was Diego Maradona at his best. Pure and joyous, freedom personified. Inspired by their number ten, Argentina went on to win the World Cup, cementing El Diego’s status as an all-time great. The curly-haired superstar had reached a level of deification hitherto unseen.
Seraphic on the pitch, yet painfully human off it. When he wasn’t embroiled in escapades, Diego Maradona used his notoriety to fight for the oppressed. He touched the hearts of millions through football, his talent thrusting him into the spotlight, ordained to be the face of the world’s most popular game. Diego Armando Maradona was a mortal who attained immortality.
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