The soccer world lost a legend on Wednesday when news broke that Diego Maradona had passed away at 60 years old. The former Argentinian midfielder was considered to be one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game, if not the greatest. The cause of death was said to be a heart attack.
Maradona came to fame in his native Argentina playing for Argentinos Juniors in the Primera League. He made his debut ten days before his 16th birthday and scored 115 goals in 167 appearances before moving on to Boca Juniors. It was there that he won his one and only Primera Division title before moving on to Barcelona in 1982.
In his time at Barcelona he helped the Catalan giants win the Copa Del Rey in 1983 along with a Copa de la Liga and a Supercopa de Espana. He also scored one of his most famous goals against Real Madrid that cumulated in the Madrid fans applauding him, something only Ronaldinho and Andres Iniesta have also received. Despite several injuries, Maradona still managed 38 goals in 58 games before departing for Napoli in a blaze of glory.
After receiving a rough tackle by Goikoetxea, being taunted with insults related to his ancestry by Bilbao fans, and being provoked by Bilbao’s Miguel Sola at full time, Maradona lost his cool. He got in Sola’s face and the two had a heated exchange. Maradona then headbutted Sola and attacked two other Bilbao players leaving one knocked out cold.
All hell broke loose at this point with the Bilbao team surrounding Maradona and the Barcelona players coming to aide of their players. Maradona was hit with a high kick to the chest during the melee as he swung punches at anyone in a Bilbao shirt. This was to be his final game for the Club as he was sold to Napoli for a then world-record fee of $10.48 million.
He announced himself to the world in 1986 helping Argentina win their second World Cup. His two goals against England in the 2-1 quarterfinal win became infamous for very different reasons. His first goal became commonly known as the ‘Hand of God’ while his second was voted the greatest goal in World Cup history.
Maradona inspired a generation of players not only from Argentina but all around the world. While off the field he could be somewhat controversial, never keeping his opinions to himself, on the field he was one of a kind. There will never be another Diego Maradona and for that, the soccer world is less bright today and every day going forward.