The football world mourns the death of Diego Maradona, the legendary football player from Argentina whose talent and passion for the sport shone through the years alongside his colorful lifestyle.
He was 60.
With the news of his death came the deluge of tribute and interesting anecdotes of the man who will forever be known as one of the greatest players of the game.
For Filipinos who love football, Maradona has been an icon.
“For many years, people will always talk in endless debate on who is the greatest football players of all time. Whether it’s Pele or Maradona or Messi. Each had his own time and era,” FIFA Marketing and Television Committee Director Monico Puentevella said.
“Maradona will always remain a legend. The only difference among him, Pele and Messi are their lifestyles. Maradona was the spoiled and wild one,” the former Bacolod congressman and mayor said.
Maradona’s career was peppered with controversies off-pitch, particularly with alcoholism and drug addiction.
Puentevella, who has also served as Negros Occidental Football Association president, said the football legend died a happy man as “he really enjoyed his riches and adventures.”
“In a way, his enormous success destroyed him. He will always remain as one of the greatest in history,” Puentevella added.
For former Philippine football campaigner John Carmona, Maradona was “an inspiration to greatness”.
Carmona admires Maradona’s stocky built and skills, adding that he is one of the millions who was inspired by “the young boy who grew up in the slums to become an idol and icon in football”.
Maradona died from cardiac arrest at his home in Tigre Argentina. His doctors were planning to remove “a little drainage” in his brain following a Nov. 4 surgery for a blood clot.
Joining the football world in mourning for Maradona is Brazil’s icon Pele, who posted a heartfelt message on his social media account.
“Sad news today. I have lost a dear friend, and the world has lost a legend. There is much more to say, but for now, may God give his family strength. One day, I hope, we will play soccer together in the sky”, Pele said on Instagram.
For Messi, Maradona is eternal.
“A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal. I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him,” Messi was quoted saying in a compiled report from the wires.
A chronicle of Maradona’s life inside the pitch said that he netted one of his iconic goals with his hand while playing against England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.
The goal went down to history as “the hand of God” which eliminated England 2-1. Argentina won the World Cup title that year.
Maradona was praised for his speed, skilled technique and dribbling skills and was famous as a versatile player. – NAB