Diego Maradona, Argentine soccer genius who saw heaven and hell
Cochin Herald|November - December 2020
World soccer great Diego Armando Maradona, who died on November 25 less than a month after his 60th birthday, was worshipped like a god for his genius with the ball, but his demons almost destroyed him.

Maradona had died after suffering a heart attack at his home in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, those close to him confirmed. Argentine President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning.

Rising to stardom from 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 of fellow Argentines Che Guevara and Evita Peron.

One of the most gifted soccer players in history, Maradona's pinnacle of glory came when he captained Argentina to win the World Cup in 1986 before plunging to misery when he was kicked out the 1994 World Cup for doping.

Years of drug use, overeating and alcoholism truncated a stellar career and altered his appearance from the lithe athlete who could slalom effortlessly through teams to a bloated addict who nearly died of cocaine-induced heart failure in 2000.

But he reinvented himself in a stunning comeback in 2008 as coach of the Argentina team, persuading managers that with sheer charisma he could inspire the team to victory, despite a lack of coaching experience.

A magician with the ball - deceptively quick and a visionary passer - Maradona is considered by some as the greatest soccer player ever, edging out that other great, Brazil's Pele. In Argentina, he was worshipped as 'El Dios' - The God - partly a play on words on his number 10 shirt, 'El Diez.'

He was largely responsible for Argentina's World Cup victory in 1986 in Mexico, scoring two famous goals in one game against England in the quarterfinals.

The first was a notorious goal scored with his fist, and the second, where he dribbled past half the England team, is often called the goal of the century.

It was partly by the hand of God and partly with the head of Maradona, he said of his opener in the 2-1 win.

On the ball from the start

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