The footballing legend, Diego Maradona, sadly died on the 25th November 2020, the football community was devastated and many football games this weekend held a minute of silence to show their respect for the footballing great.
Maradona was a world-class attacking midfielder who played for Barcelona and Napoli, for Napoli he was the all-time leading goal scorer with 115 goals until his record was broken in 2017. He won 9 club trophies across his career: 3 with Barcelona, 5 with Napoli and 1 with Boca Juniors. Maradona also scored an amazing 311 goals across his 21-year career. Maradona was not just a club star but an international star too; he scored 34 goals in 91 appearances which puts him 5th in the all-time top goal scorers list for Argentina. He is probably most famous for his role as captain for Argentina in which led the team to the world cup title in 1986.
Unfortunately, over the years, this stellar playing career became tarnished with drug-taking and even cheating during the World Cup 1986 – this went on to be known as the ‘Hand of God’. It was the quarter-finals and Argentina were playing England; Maradona went up to head a freekick but instead, he hit the ball with his hand and the ball flew into the net, past the flailing England keeper’s arms. Maradona then went off to celebrate, only checking to see if the referee had noticed this cheating and in fact, he hadn’t and the goal stood! This led to England losing the game 2 -1 and Argentina went on to win the final.
Because of the ‘Hand of God’, if you say the words “Diego Maradona” to a die-hard English football fan many might reply with “cheat”, whereas other football fans may say “Great”, “Best footballer ever” and “World class”. I think that by cheating, Maradona may have tainted his excellent career and it’s a shame that some people may not always recognise him for the talent he had simply because he cheated.
In my opinion, in sport there is a fine line between playing to win and cheating. However, it is often hard to distinguish this line simple because cheating happens in football and sport all the time, for example, footballers often exaggerate contact after a tackle which then leads to a penalty and they then score that penalty. Is that cheating or is it playing to win? Although I think that what Maradona did was dishonest, I think it is harsh to tarnish a great’s career.
It’s a sad loss for the footballing world and a shame we to say goodbye to a sporting role model and legendary player. Footballers and sports people all over the world have shared their condolences across the social media platforms for a legend taken too soon, at the age of 60. As far as we know, Maradona was taken to hospital recently, to have a clot removed from his brain. However, it is thought that he then later passed from a heart attack.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends at this sad time and we will will continue to remember Maradona for his prowess.