Editorial: Miss you, Maradona

Football legend Diego Maradona has died from a heart attack at home in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the age of 60.  It comes just two weeks after the footballing hero left hospital following surgery for a bleed on the brain. Maradona  became a global icon after leading Argentina to the 1986 World Cup but he was not a squeaky clean idol like Pele, and made little attempt to hide his fiery personality and many vices. ‘I am black or white, I’ll never be grey in my life,’ he once said.

Maradona was short, powerful and quick. He was also a ferocious and astute competitor who refused to be intimidated even though many opponents tried. Above all, he was sublimely and imaginatively skilful.  Maradona will forever be known for his ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final in Mexico, when he appeared to use his hand to push the ball into the net before later swerving through the English defenders for a memorable second goal that sealed victory.

While Maradona is remembered for his masterly composure on the ball, he was also famous for his frequent lack of control both on the field and off. He struggled with addiction, notably to cocaine, and with his weight. On Wednesday morning, Maradona had come down for breakfast looking pale and complained that he felt cold.  ‘Me siento mal,’ he told his nephew before returning to bed in the Buenos Aires mansion. Shortly before noon a nurse discovered Maradona and phoned for help but he was dead before paramedics could arrive Maradona’s last words before he died were: ‘I feel sick.’ The world will always remember his kick.