Diego Maradona: Argentina legend dies aged 60

Diego Maradona led Argentina to World Cup success in 1986 and scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for his country; Maradona won two Serie A titles with Napoli and also played for Barcelona, Sevilla, Boca Juniors and Newell's Old Boys

Diego Maradona dies aged 60

Diego Maradona, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, has died at the age of 60.

Maradona was the inspiration and captain for Argentina's World Cup success in Mexico in 1986, winning the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player.

He scored twice against England in a memorable 2-1 quarter-final win, his first goal being dubbed 'the hand of God' and the second winning the 'Goal of the Century' award on the FIFA website in 2002.

Maradona's spokesman, Sebastian Sanchi, said he died on Wednesday of a heart attack, two weeks after being released from a hospital in Buenos Aires following brain surgery.

The Argentine FA confirmed the news in a statement on Twitter which read: "The Argentine Football Association, 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."

The infamous "Hand of God" goal
Image: The infamous "Hand of God" goal

Brazilian great Pele led the tributes on Twitter, writing: "What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky."

Following the 1986 triumph, Maradona led his country to the final of the 1990 tournament in Italy, although 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.

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

Diego Maradoa has been feeling unwell for some times, it was reported
Image: Maradona underwent brain surgery at the start of November

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.

Maradona underwent brain surgery at the start of November and his lawyer said he would continue to be treated for alcohol dependency.

Diego Maradona of Argentina holds the World Cup trophy after defeating West Germany 3-2 during the 1986 FIFA World Cup Final match at the Azteca Stadium on June 29, 1986 in Mexico City, Mexico
Image: Diego Maradona holds the World Cup trophy after Argentina defeated West Germany 3-2 during the 1986 World Cup final

The 1986 World Cup winner had an emergency operation for a subdural hematoma, which is an accumulation of blood between a membrane and his brain.

Maradona was initially admitted to another clinic in La Plata with signs of depression, anemia and dehydration, before being moved to Olivos when the subdural hematoma was discovered.

Dr Luque said an accident likely caused the subdural hematoma but that Maradona did not recall any falls or mishaps.

Maradona felt ill on October 30 while coaching first-division team Gimnasia y Esgrima. He had left before the end of the first half, raising questions about his health.

Diego Maradona was crowned the best player at the tournament when Argentina won the World Cup in 1986
Image: Maradona was crowned the best player at the tournament when Argentina won the World Cup in 1986

Diego Maradona obituary: The genius and the controversy

Diego Maradona was loathed by a nation for the 'Hand of God' in Mexico City but adored by the world for his moment of genius just four minutes later.

The combustible Argentine, who has died at the age of 60, was without doubt one of the greatest football players in history.

Maradona - a fiery, indomitable personality, a man so drastically different in his world view from Brazil's beloved Pele - was an unstoppable force on his course to reaching the very top of the game.

But, after winning the World Cup in 1986, his fall from grace was swift, bizarre and, like the man himself, totally unpredictable.

Football world pays tribute to Maradona

Argentina's all-time top goalscorer Lionel Messi wrote on Instagram: "A very sad day for all Argentines and football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal. I take all the good moments lived with him and send condolences to all his family and friends. RIP."

Cristiano Ronaldo tweeted in Portuguese alongside a picture of him and Maradona: "Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius.

Gary Lineker, who was in the England side beaten by Maradona's Argentina in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, led the tributes on Twitter, writing: "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."

Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford also posted a message on Twitter, while Jamie Carragher wrote: "I'll never forget watching Diego Maradona as an 8 yr old at the World Cup in Mexico. Never seen anything like it on that stage since. Sad news."

"One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten."

Diego Maradona: In pictures

Diego Maradona at Napoli [Credit: Alfredo Capozzi]
Image: Diego Maradona at Napoli [Credit: Alfredo Capozzi]

From his days at Boca Juniors, to Napoli and various World Cups, relive some amazing imagery from a quite extraordinary career.

Diego Maradona: The iconic images

Maradona's forgotten year at Sevilla

Diego Maradona in action for Sevilla
Image: Diego Maradona in action for Sevilla

In Europe, he is remembered for his world-record breaking move to Barcelona and his subsequent transfer to Napoli, where he became a World Cup winner and a club legend.

But before he returned to Argentina, there was one final stop-off on the European adventure of Diego Armando Maradona. It is his forgotten season. His lost weekend.

Read Adam Bate's story of Maradona in Seville

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