Passing of Soccer Legend Diego Maradona


Maradona after signing with SSC Napoli

Elliot Ellis

Diego Armando Maradona was a soccer icon known throughout the world. Born in Buenos Aires, Maradona was commonly referred to as the “El Pibe de Oro” or “The Golden Boy.” He began his professional career at age 14 with the Argentinos Juniors and became the youngest Argentine to ever debut for the country’s national team. After a short championship stint with the Boca Juniors soccer club in 1981, Maradona began his infamous European career,  playing with FC Barcelona from 1982-1983 and winning the Spanish Cup in ‘83. The next year, Maradona began his ascension into unparalleled stardom with SSC Napoli in the Italian Serie A league. 

It was in Naples that Maradona took one of the worst Italian teams to league and cup titles in 1987 and then another league title in 1990. During his time with Napoli, Maradona “had become a living God” throughout Italy, as Carlo Garganese of put it. In 1986, Maradona helped carry Argentina to their World Cup victory over West Germany, winning 3-2. 

It was in the quarter-final of that World Cup that gave Maradona his legendary aura, as he managed to score two improbable goals. The first goal he scored with his hand.  The referee had missed this and believed that the ball had bounced off of Maradona’s head rather, so the goal stood. This would later become known as the “Hand of God” goal. Maradona’s second goal came when he received the ball at midfield and proceeded to dodge through the entire English defense with the ball seemingly tied to his foot before placing his shot at the back of the net, out of reach for the English goalie. It was in this world-class World Cup exposition that Maradona became a hero to all of Argentina. 

Maradona played professionally for 21 years, playing in 490 official club games and scoring 259 goals. For Argentina, Maradona scored 34 goals in 91 games. Sadly, Maradona’s heroics and never-before-seen playing style have often been overshadowed by his struggles with drug abuse and addiction. 

Maradona died on November 25, 2020, from a heart attack two weeks after brain surgery. Maradona is an example of how stardom and being beloved by one’s country and city come at a hefty price. In a poll by the Fédération Internationale de Football, Maradona was voted as the 20th century’s top player.  

11th Grader and avid soccer fan Leo Gerst shared his thoughts on Maradona’s passing, saying, “Maradona was that looming hero every soccer fan looked to when exploring the past history of global soccer. The marks he left on the world stage for Argentina and on the club level for Napoli will never be forgotten.”