By Miltiño Ochoa*
This Wednesday, Nov. 25, the god of the football world, Diego Armando Maradona, left for the heavenly fields. He left several indelible marks through his life of 60 years on Earth.
Maradona died at his residence at the age of 60, he was with his relatives, when he suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest after his operation on the head for a subdural hematoma. He had a fall at 10 in the morning, he was taken to the hospital and at noon he was presumed dead by the doctors who treated him, the Argentine government decreed three days of mourning for this tragic news.
Maradona was born in Lanús on Oct. 30, 1960. From a young age, he had great skills in ball handling and masterful touch with his left foot. He was signed by the Argentino Juniors with whom he took his first steps in the rectangles while he dreamed of seeing Argentina triumph in the world; While this sport was reigned by its Brazilian neighbours Pelé, Garrincha, Nilson Santos and company, the Argentinians already had some legends in its history with several American Cups won but in the absence of more greatness than with the passing of time “El Pibe de Oro” would be one of its main authors.
At 17 he was already shining with Argentinos Juniors and was among the possible summoned for the World Cup that would be in his country, however, coach César Luis Menotti decided to leave him out, he retaliated the next year when he won the U-20 World Cup as the captain of that team.
After his brilliant passage, he went to other clubs such as Boca Juniors where he achieved great moments and left fond memories in La Bombonera. He went international with other groups such as Barcelona and El Napoli where he consolidated his quality as the best in the world.
However, his colossal step came in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
After a difficult qualification, he threw his team on his shoulder with his genius, leadership, passion and even with plays worthy of a God of Olympus. He made the best goal in history by taking seven Englishmen from the middle of the field until he put the ball in the goal, then the famous “Hand of God” who finished burying an England in that decisive match.
Then, as he himself pointed out years later, he fought “before the German tanks” and knew how to beat them with a couple of plays, one of which assisted Burruchaga to take the second star to Argentina and his World Cup, the one raised in the Azteca Stadium, where 16 years earlier his friend and Brazilian rival “Pelé” had succeeded.
However, after the 1990 World Cup, Maradona allowed himself to be overcome by drugs and in 1994, he was suspended 18 months by FIFA.
He took refuge in other extra sports activities that became scandals, but his greatness on the court was always unobjectionable. Maradona would play with Sevilla, then return to Boca Juniors and finish a career that, despite being on the podium with Pelé, Messi, Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Zidane among others, we will never know how far he could have gone if he had not had those bad steps.
Maradona’s health worsened over the years. Loved by many and hated by others, he always left thousands of joyful fans in his later years as a coach and as a show host.
He fell ill, being operated on for weeks in Buenos Aires and then transferred to the town of Tigre where he had his residence to rest. However, death reached him on Nov. 25, a difficult year for sports and the world. In January, Kobe Bryant left with one of his daughters and six other people in a helicopter accident, plus the millions of victims left by COVID-19 and now Maradona joins them
The Argentine newspaper Clarín reported that Diego Maradona’s body will be subjected to an autopsy at the San Fernando Hospital morgue to confirm the causes of his death.
Hundreds of players and former players have spoken giving consolation and recalling several anecdotes with the Argentine mystic 10, among other personalities from different social, cultural, political and sports branches.
Goodbye Diego, thanks for so much genius on the court.
*Miltiño Ochoa is a Venezuelan sports journalist who collaborates in this article for El Perico. Contact: Milticulto@gmail.com