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“A player like no other”: Tributes paid to legendary footballer Diego Maradona after death aged 60

© APDiego Maradona lifts the World Cup in 1986
Diego Maradona lifts the World Cup in 1986

One of the world’s greatest ever footballers, Diego Maradona, has died at the age of 60.

The Argentine captained his national team to victory in the 1986 Mexico World Cup and rose to legendary status in the game.

Goals against England highlighted his abilities as a supremely talented maverick, netting one after dribbling through five players and then scoring with the infamous ‘Hand of God’.

That goal led to him having a special place in the heart of many members of the Tartan Army.

Maradona had been in hospital in Buenos Aires after surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain earlier this month.

Announcing his death, the Argentine Football Association said on Twitter: “The AFA, through its President Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You will always be in our hearts.”

He will be honoured with a minute’s silence ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League games, UEFA announced.

© Colorsport/Shutterstock
Maradona, 1982
© PA
Diego Maradona in 2008

Maradona’s successes made him a global star and a national hero in his homeland, but his career was also blighted by controversies on and off the field.

His international playing career ended in shame when he failed a drugs test at the 1994 World Cup in the United States and he was notorious for a wayward lifestyle throughout his life.

He was also banned from football in 1991 after testing positive for cocaine while playing for Napoli.

However, he remained a revered figure at the Italian club, where he won two Serie A titles.

He also played for Barcelona, Sevilla, Boca Juniors and Newell’s Old Boys and was most recently manager of Gimnasia y Esgrima in La Plata, Argentina.

He managed the national side at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

© Shutterstock
Diego Maradona scoring the ‘Hand of God’ goal
© SNS Group
Kenny Dalglish has his eyes on Maradona in a friendly at Hampden, 1979

Tributes to Maradona have poured in from the world of football.

Gary Lineker, who played in the England side in that quarter-final defeat, tweeted: “By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time.

“After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego”

Michael Owen tweeted: “Quite simply – a player like no other. Rest In Peace Diego Maradona.”

Boca Juniors, where Maradona made his name before securing a then world-record transfer to Barcelona, tweeted: “Eternal thanks. Eternal Diego.”

Asif Kapadia, who directed the 2019 documentary film Maradona, tweeted: “Can’t quite believe DM has gone. Hard to process.

“He always seemed indestructible. I had 10 hours with the man!! I touched his left foot. We did our best to show the world the man, the myth, the fighter he was. The greatest.”

Former Spain goalkeeper and fellow World Cup winner Iker Casillas tweeted: that it was a “sad day for football”, describing Maradona as a “genius of this sport”.