Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, considered one of the game’s greatest players, has died at age 60.
Media reports in Argentina said he died of a heart attack. Earlier this month, he had surgery for a subdural hematoma.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning following news of his death.
Maradona led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and won championships with club teams in Italy and Spain. He is famously remembered for two goals scored against England in the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup, one of which was voted the FIFA World Cup Goal of the Century.
Diego Maradona: Soccer prodigy, national icon
A soccer prodigy from an impoverished family, at age 8 he joined a boys team that won 136 straight games and a national championship. At 16, he became the youngest Argentine to play for the national team.
He played on the pitch with flair. Off of it, his career was tainted by two suspensions for drug use.
In a 21-year pro career, he played 490 club games and scored 259 goals. For the Argentina national team, he scored 34 goals in 91 games. An online poll in 2000 named him the top player of the 20th century.
In 1982, Maradona was transferred to Barcelona in Spain for a fee of $7.6 million, a record at the time. The team won the Spanish title the following year, but after disputes with management and his involvement in a brawl in the 1984 Copa del Rey final, he was transferred to Italian club Napoli for what was another record fee (nearly $10.5 million) and led the team to league titles in 1987 and 1990.
In 1991, Maradona was suspended for 15 months after testing positive for cocaine and returned to play with Sevilla FC. That club remembered him on Wednesday.
“A hero for an entire country and football itself. One of the greatest players to have graced the game of football, and we were lucky enough to enjoy you at Sevilla FC. Diego Armando Maradona, forever eternal. Rest in peace,” the Spanish club tweeted.
A hero for an entire country and football itself.
One of the greatest players to have graced the game of football, and we were lucky enough to enjoy you at Sevilla FC.
Diego Armando Maradona, forever eternal.
Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/BXHNC51vxe
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) November 25, 2020
Altogether, Maradona played in four World Cups: 1982, 1986, 1990, and 1994. Out of shape before the 1994 tournament, he went on a diet and then failed a drug test for ephedrine. He was escorted off the field in Foxborough, Mass.
He returned to Argentina to play and retired in 1997.
Checkered post-playing career
His post-playing career was marked by ups and downs. He was hospitalized in 2004 following a drug overdose, hosted a television variety show in Argentina, raised money for charity and also coached the national team for two years before being fired.
He also coached in Mexico and again later in Argentina before his death.
Pele, another soccer great from Argentina, remembered him on Wednesday.
“Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above,” he said in a brief statement provided to Reuters.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)