Sunday, 5 December, 2021

‘Golden Kid’ Maradona remembered

  • Afp, Buenos Aires
  • 26 November, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The world will on Thursday mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Diego Maradona, regarded by some as the best player of all time and a man adored in his home country Argentina despite, or perhaps because of, his human flaws.

Argentine club matches are to mark a minute of silence and players will arrange themselves in a "10" formation on the pitch to honor Maradona's famous jersey number, while special masses will be held -- including in the Buenos Aires slum where Maradona grew up, to mark the day he passed away.

"We'll miss you for the rest of our lives," said the Argentine Football League in homage on the eve of the anniversary, with a video of the life, goals, and many trophies of the man nicknamed "Pibe de Oro" (Golden Kid).

Maradona died of a heart attack last November at the age of 60, weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot.

The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star had battled cocaine and alcohol addictions for years, and was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.

His death shocked fans around the world, and tens of thousands queued to file past his coffin, draped in the Argentine flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires during three days of national mourning. He may be dead, but in Argentina Maradona is everywhere. From ubiquitous mural frescos that portray him as a deity to television series about his life and even a religion bearing his name. His two goals in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals, which saw Argentina triumph over England just four years after the Falklands War, made Maradona an instant hero.

In Naples, where Maradona is as much an icon as in Buenos Aires, a statue of him will be unveiled in the presence of his son Diego Maradona Junior outside Napoli's stadium, which was renamed in his honour following his death.

On Thursday morning Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis left flowers at the so-called 'Largo Maradona', an area in Naples' famous 'Spanish Quarter' covered in murals in the Argentine's honour. Maradona is perhaps remembered as much for his "Hand of God" goal.