Soccer legend, Diego Maradona leaves a legacy of imperfect glory | #YNaijaSportsExtra

Argentine football legend, Diego Maradona has just passed on after suffering a heart failure. The fabled Argentina attacking midfielder suffered a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home, with Argentine President, Alberto Fernandez declaring three days of national mourning.

Maradona during his glory days enjoyed tremendous success as a footballer at both the national and club level. He was captain of the Argentina national team when they won the 1986 World Cup, and he did a great job in leading his team to victory. It would also be in this tournament where he scored the historic ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals.

He scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina and made it to four World Cups during his career.

He also won two Serie A championships when he played for Italian football club Napoli between 1984 to 1992, after playing for famed Spanish giants Barcelona from 1982 to 1984.

However, his career was not all rosy as he later fell into a cocaine addiction. In 1991, he tested positive for the drug, after which he was suspended for 15 months, and forced to leave Napoli in degradation. He was reinstated into the sports but this would not be his last stint with drug scandals.

In 1994, during the World Cup in the United States, he unfortunately tested positive for use of substance named ephedrine. His career would not remain the same after the incident, and it became a stain in his highly decorated football career.

He retired from playing in 1997, and in 2008- 2010 he served as the coach for the Argentina national team, led by similarly celebrated soccer star Lionel Messi.

Baring these controversies, Diego Maradona no doubt was one of the most gifted and extraordinary athlete the game has ever seen. Throughout his career he scored 259 goals in 491 matches.

At a young age, he led his  Los Cebollitas youth team to a 136-game unbeaten streak, and debuted for the national team at the young age of 16. He is a two time top scorer in the Italian League. He won he golden ball in 1986 world cup where he led his team to victory. He also won the UEFA cup in 1989 and the Italian Supercup in 1990.

Life after retirement

While Maradona enjoyed the affluence his illustrious career had afforded him, he failed at regulating some of his lifestyle choices that was proving too destructive.

His cocaine addiction he had gotten from his football days stuck with him, he also developed an unhealthy obsession with alcohol, and in no time began to put on some pounds and eventually became overweight. In 2004, he suffered a heart attack and was place in intensive care, he also underwent a gastric bypass surgery a year later.

In 2007 he was treated for hepatitis and more alcohol problems. By 2020, he underwent brain surgery which was touted as a huge success. Unfortunately his undoing would be a heart failure, putting an end to the glorious and yet tragic tale of this Argentina national symbol.

Goodbye to a legend

The world of sports particularly soccer is in mourning as they say goodbye to an iconic player, one that brought so much value and marketability to the sports. From Presidents, to soccer players, to sports journalists, to fans, to fellow legends, and of course friends and family, a number of people world wide are paying their tribute to this legend.

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