Argentina football legend Maradona dies of heart attack

Argentina football legend Maradona dies of heart attack
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Diego Maradona was the star of the 1986 World Cup. (Getty Images)
Argentina football legend Maradona dies of heart attack
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Diego Maradona of Argentina is confronted by Belgian players during the 1986 World Cup. (Getty Images)
Argentina football legend Maradona dies of heart attack
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Maradona in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1987. (Twitter Photo)
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Updated 25 November 2020

Argentina football legend Maradona dies of heart attack

Argentina football legend Maradona dies of heart attack
  • Maradona, 60, had recently battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural haematoma several weeks ago
  • Argentina President Alberto Fernandez has announced three days of national mourning

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina football legend Diego Maradona died of a heart attack on Wednesday, his lawyer said.
Maradona, 60, had recently battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural haematoma several weeks ago.

President Alberto Fernandez immediately announced three days of national mourning in the South American country.
Shortly before the announcement that shocked a nation, Argentine media reported Maradona had suffered a serious health setback on Wednesday and was being treated by doctors at his home north of Buenos Aires.
“There are four ambulances at the door of the residence. They have summoned family members to come. It is serious,” the TyC Sports channel reported.

Diego Maradona was football’s archetypal troubled genius, a world-beating player whose life and career scaled the most dazzling heights but also plumbed the darkest depths. 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.


“No ball ever had a better experience than when it was at his left foot,” said his Argentina teammate Jorge Valdano.
However, 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.
Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1960, in Lanus, just outside Buenos Aires, and grew up in one of the poorest areas of the Argentine capital.
He made his debut for Argentinos Juniors just before his 16th birthday and his debut for Argentina at age 16 in February, 1977.
His career is defined by the World Cup, the four he played in and the one he missed.
“I have two dreams,” Maradona told Argentine television at the age of 17.
“My first dream is to play in the World Cup. And the second dream is to win it.” Manager Cesar Luis Menotti omitted “El Pibe de Oro” (the golden kid) from his squad in 1978. Argentina, the hosts, went on to win the competition for the first time. The following year, under Menotti, Maradona led Argentina to victory in the under-20 World Cup in Japan, winning the Golden Ball for the tournament’s best player.
His senior World Cup debut in 1982 in Spain went badly. Maradona was treated brutally by defenders and ended his tournament with a red card for retaliation as Argentina, already eliminated, lost to Brazil. He atoned four years later, propelling his country to victory in Mexico and making the tournament his own. In the final, Maradona set up the 86th-minute winner against West Germany.




Diego Maradona takes on half the Belgian team at the 1986 World Cup. (Getty Images)

He scored twice in the semifinal against Belgium, beating four defenders for the second. But the match that defined his tournament, and possibly his international career, was the 2-1 quarter-final win over England, in which he scored two goals that will be remembered forever — for very different reasons. In the 51st minute, as Peter Shilton reached to catch the ball, Maradona, some seven inches shorter, jumped alongside him and with a deftness that fooled the eye, flicked the ball through the England goalkeeper’s arms and into the net.
After the game, Maradona said he scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.”
Four minutes later, Maradona picked up the ball in his own half, beat six England players, including Shilton, before squeezing home.
FIFA later named it the “Goal of the Century.” In 1990 in Italy, almost immobile because of an injury to his much-kicked left ankle, Maradona steered a defensive and limited Argentine team back to the final even though they won just two games and scored only five goals. In a dire final, it took Andreas Brehme’s 85th-minute penalty for West Germany to this time get the better of Maradona.
Four years later in the United States, Maradona seemed restored to health. He scored against Greece and celebrated by racing to scream into a TV camera, a disturbing mixture of joy, relief and rage. But he ended his last World Cup like his first, prematurely. After Argentina beat Nigeria in their second group game, Maradona failed a test for ephedrine and was thrown out of the tournament.

A similar pattern of wild highs and lows marked Maradona’s club career. Maradona moved to the club he supported, Boca Juniors, in 1981 and won his sole Argentine league title the following season.
He left for Barcelona for a world record fee in 1982.
He won the Copa Del Rey in his first season but the club only finished fourth in the league. He missed much of the following campaign after Athletic Bilbao’s Andoni Goikoetxea broke his ankle, and when Barca lost to Bilbao in that year’s cup final, Maradona started a spectacular mass brawl, flooring four opponents.
Facing a ban in Spain, Maradona moved to Napoli, becoming the first player to break the world transfer record twice.
His dazzling play transformed a club from a poor, much-mocked city and led them to their only two Serie A titles.




Maradona in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1987. (Twitter Photo)

In a whirlwind seven years he fathered an illegitimate child, made friends with the local mafia and enemies of the tax collectors. He also fell deep into cocaine addiction. His tempestuous time in Italy effectively ended in April 1991 when he tested positive for cocaine and was banned for 15 months. He wound down his playing career with one season at Sevilla, one at Newell’s Old Boys and two at his beloved Boca.
Over the next two and a half decades he had six short and unsuccessful stints managing clubs in Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico, and also two fiery years as Argentina coach from 2008-10.




Maradona played in a friendly for Al-Ahli Saudi FC in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1987. (Twitter Photo)

Even though Argentina suffered a record 6-1 defeat by humble Bolivia in qualifying, and Maradona was banned for two months at the end of 2009 for an obscene tirade at journalists, he still led the team to the World Cup in South Africa where they won their group before being thrashed 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals. All the while, Maradona’s off-field problems continued. He went into drug rehab on several occasions.




Maradona played in a friendly for Al-Ahli Saudi FC in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1987. (Twitter Photo)

When he quit cocaine, he binged instead on drink, cigars and food and ended up in hospital in 2007. He was a strident supporter of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whose image he had tattooed on his shoulder, and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. In 2000, FIFA ran an online Player of the Century poll. Maradona gained 54 percent of the vote, Pele was second with 18 percent.
FIFA declared them joint winners. Maradona married his long-time girlfriend Claudia Villafane in 1984.
They had two daughters, Dalma and Gianinna, and divorced in 2004. He also had a son, Diego Junior, born in Naples in 1986, although he only acknowledged paternity in 2004.


Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller
Updated 25 January 2021

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller
  • The English champions lost a league game at Anfield for the first time

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Bruno Fernandes’s stunning free-kick inflicted more misery on Liverpool as Manchester United progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a thrilling 3-2 win at Old Tafford on Sunday.

Both sides struggled to create chances in a cagey 0-0 draw when they met in the Premier League last weekend.

But there was no repeat of that caution in a wide-open contest that ended Liverpool’s hopes of a first domestic cup win under Jurgen Klopp for another season.

The English champions lost a league game at Anfield for the first time in nearly four years to Burnley on Thursday to fall six points behind United at the top of the table.

In response, Klopp named a strong side despite making five changes as Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino returned.

Liverpool’s only goals in their previous five games came against an Aston Villa youth team in the last round of the FA Cup after Dean Smith’s side were struck down by a coronavirus outbreak.

But shades of the side that stormed to a first league title in 30 years last season were restored even if Klopp’s wait for a first win at Old Trafford goes on.

Firmino and Salah combined perfectly for the opener on 18 minutes as the Brazilian’s pass opened up the United defense and the Egyptian provided a dinked finish over Dean Henderson.

United have made a habit of coming from behind to win this season and took just eight minutes to hit back.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed Fernandes a rare rest from the start, but still picked a side packed with firepower featuring Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba.

Rashford’s raking cross-field pass just evaded James Milner and Greenwood did not look like a striker lacking confidence as he fired past Alisson Becker for his first goal in 11 games.

A number of injuries to center-backs have disrupted Liverpool’s season with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez expected to miss the rest of the season, while Joel Matip has struggled to stay fit.

Klopp has been forced to field two midfielders in Jordan Henderson and Fabinho together at the heart of the defense in recent weeks and the performance of 19-year-old Rhys Williams showed why the German has been reluctant to rely on his young center-backs.

Williams failed to cut out Greenwood’s through ball for Rashford three minutes into the second half and the England international composed himself before slotting past the advancing Alisson.

This time, United’s momentum was short-lived as Milner should have levelled for Liverpool when he spooned a glorious chance over from close range, but quickly made amends by teeing up Salah to smash home his second just before the hour mark.

Both managers turned to their match winners off the bench for the final half-hour as Klopp first turned to Sadio Mane before Fernandes made his entrance.

Trent Alexander-Arnold stung the palms of Henderson, who then saved twice from Salah as Liverpool’s attack began to click back into gear.

But it was Fernandes who won the game with a brilliant free-kick 12 minutes from time.

This week will be the first anniversary of the Portuguese’s arrival from Sporting Lisbon that has transformed United’s fortunes.

A year ago, United trailed Liverpool by 30 points in the Premier League having played two games more.

The past seven days have shown they are now more than a match for their old rivals.

Fernandes’s strike was a worthy winner of a thrilling tie as he used Pogba to unsight Alisson and fired the ball low into the Brazilian’s left-hand corner.

United will face West Ham in the last 16 next month.