Diego Maradona, one of football’s greatest-ever players, has died aged 60.
The 1986 World Cup winner had surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain earlier this month. The Argentine Football Association confirmed he had died this afternoon.
“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,” they said.
Another of football’s greats, Pele, has led the tributes to: “Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above.” Follow latest updates and reaction here.
Gary Lineker, who played against Maradona in 1986 World Cup, pays tribute
Reports from Argentina that Diego Armando Maradona has died. 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
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 25, 2020
Reaction from Italy
By Nick Squires in Rome
There has been an outpouring of sadness and shock in Italy over the news of his death.
Maradona was “an extraordinary player, unique, an immense talent,” said Fabio Capello, former England coach.
“When one talks of the history of football, one talks of Pele in one era, then Maradona in another, and now Messi.
We will remember him as one of the greatest ever players.” Matteo Renzi, former prime minister, said: “No words, just sadness. Rest in peace.”
Matteo Salvini, former deputy prime minister and leader of The League party, said Maradona was “A unique genius in world football.
A prayer for him.” Andrea Marcucci, an MP from the ruling Democratic Party, said Maradona had “given us so much joy. His football was an art, poetry, a gift.”
Official confirmation from the Argentine federation
La Asociación del Fútbol Argentino, a través de su Presidente Claudio Tapia, manifiesta su más profundo dolor por el fallecimiento de nuestra leyenda, Diego Armando Maradona.
Siempre estarás en nuestros corazones 💙 pic.twitter.com/xh6DdfCFed
— AFA (@afa) November 25, 2020
A player who defined an era
Diego Maradona dead say reports
Diego Maradona has died aged 60 after a cardiac arrest according to reports in his native Argentina.
The 1986 World Cup winner, widely considered on the greatest players in the sport’s history, underwent successful brain surgery on a blood clot earlier this month.
Maradona last appeared in public on his 60th birthday last Friday before his side’s league match against Patronato.
According to local media reports Maradona had been feeling poorly for some time.
He was gifted a plaque and a cake to celebrate the occasion but he did not stay to watch the game and witnesses said he looked unwell and weak.
The former Napoli, Barcelona and Boca Juniors player has suffered frequent periods in hospital over the years, often due to the extravagant lifestyle that accompanied and followed his playing career.
The former Napoli striker was also admitted to hospital in January 2019 with internal bleeding in the stomach.
He also fell ill at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he was filmed passing out in an executive box at the Argentina-Nigeria game.
Maradona was taken into hospital in 2004 with severe heart and respiratory problems linked to cocaine use. He later underwent drug rehabilitation in Cuba and Argentina before a stomach-stapling operation in 2005 helped him lose weight.
In 2007 he checked himself into a clinic in Buenos Aires to help him overcome alcohol abuse problems. Maradona was the subject of a feature-length film exploring his extraordinary time at Italian club Napoli, who he led to their first ever league title. The film also detailed his worrying slide into drug use and his association with organised crime gangs in the city.
English fans will forever know him for his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goals in the 1986 World Cup, which he followed with one of the greatest solo goals in the tournament’s history.