Football world paid rich tribute to Maradona

 Brazil legend Pele and Portugal superstar Ronaldo paid tribute to legendary Maradona

Football legend Diego Maradona died at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest, as per media reports in Argentina. 

The world cup-winning captain was hospitalised and had undergone brain surgery. Maradona was discharged on November 11. Many clubs and players paid their heartfelt tribute to the Argentine. Brazil's legendary football player Pele paid tribute to Maradona. 

"Certainly, one day we'll kick a ball together in the sky above," Pele said in a brief statement.

Pele and Maradona are considered to be one of the best in the game. Both players played a vital role for their respective countries. Maradona helped Argentina win the world cup in 1986. Pele, himself has won the world cup thrice. 

Both players have appeared together at many occasions and have been respectful to each other. 

In a statement on social media, the Argentine Football Association expressed “its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend”, adding: “You will always be in our hearts.”

Declaring three days of national mourning, Alberto Fernandez, the president of Argentina, said: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of them all.

“Thank you for having existed, Diego. We’re going to miss you all our lives.”

Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius. One of the best ever- An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten,” Ronaldo tweeted.

“He leaves a legacy without limits,” said Cristiano Ronaldo, who is seen as the successor to Maradona in being the true global superstar of the game, tweeted just minutes after the shocking news of Maradona’s demise gripped the world.

Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals.

He scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina, representing them in four World Cups.

Maradona led his country to the 1990 final in Italy, where they were beaten by West Germany, before captaining them again in the United States in 1994, but was sent home after failing a drugs test for ephedrine.

During the second half of his career, Maradona struggled with cocaine addiction and was banned for 15 months after testing positive for the drug in 1991.

He retired from professional football in 1997, on his 37th birthday, during his second stint at Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

Having briefly managed two sides in Argentina during his playing career, Maradona was appointed head coach of the national team in 2008 and left after the 2010 World Cup, where his side was beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals.

He subsequently managed teams in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico and was in charge of Gimnasia y Esgrima in Argentina’s top flight at the time of his death.

He was managing an Argentine club, Gimnasia de La Plata. He played club football for Boca Juniors, Napoli and Barcelona among others and was adored by millions all over the world for his brilliant skills. He spent two years at the Nou Camp before heading to Napoli, where he spent the next seven seasons and scored over 100 goals.

His trophy-laden career was tinged with controversy because of drug and alcohol addiction. He almost died of cocaine-induced heart failure in 2000 and underwent years of rehabilitation.

Despite his fair share of controversies, Maradona was hailed as one of the majestic footballers to have graced the football pitch and his left-foot is still admired by many elite footballers. 

                                                            Naila Chaudhry

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