‘We have lost a legend’ - Argentina great passes away at age 60
November 25, 2020 marked one of the darkest days in the history of football, with the passing of one of its most iconic and legendary figures, Argentinian footballing great Diego Maradona.
Maradona died from a heart attack at the age of 60, sending the world of football, and beyond, into mourning, as the man who is worshipped by many as the greatest to have ever played the game, passed away at his home in Buenos Aires, two weeks after being released from hospital, following surgery on a blood clot on his brain.
Former Jamaica international and Stoke City striker Ricardo Fuller, himself a long-time Maradona and Argentina fan, at first struggled to find words when The Gleaner reached out to him for comment from his home in Crewe in the United Kingdom.
“His passing has shaken me up big time,” said Fuller. “I was awoken by the news when the BBC called me. I knew he recently did surgery and was recovering and I was very surprised when I heard that he passed on. If anybody asks me who was the greatest player to ever grace a football field, without a shadow of a doubt, it was Diego Maradona.”
Fuller, who made 72 appearances for the Reggae Boyz, scoring nine goals, said he patterned his game off Maradona and Brazilian forward Ronaldo; however, he held the pint-size Argentine to mythological status when it comes to his all-round game.
“Let’s forget what has gone on off the field. When it comes to football and the type of player and leader he was on the field, it was nothing short of legendary. The way he mesmerises with his skills and utilises his strength for his size, the man is just in a different class,” added Fuller, who reminisced on the moment he saw his idol up close.
The opportunity came when Maradona sat metres away from the Jamaican during a Manchester City match that Fuller attended on invitation of his close friend, Raheem Sterling.
“The first time I saw Maradona, I almost got a cricked neck because I kept looking to my right over to the box where he was sitting, and that was the only time I ever got a chance to see the great man,” Fuller shared.
Trinidad and Tobago football great Russell Latapy told The Gleaner that the passing of Maradona “broke my heart”, and that football has lost a legend.
Latapy, known as the ‘Little Magician’, played 81 times for T&T and also played for European outfits Porto and Rangers. He said the game will always remember the great Diego Maradona, who inspired a generation of attacking players, such as himself.
“It is heartbreaking hearing the news. Diego was and is a hero to my generation. He lived and played the game in a way that inspired us all. He will be greatly missed. Condolences to his family and the entire Argentina Football Association,” Latapy said.
Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals, during a campaign that saw him win the Golden Ball award.
He made 91 appearances for Argentina and scored 34 goals, representing them in four World Cups.
Maradona’s amazing skill on the field was matched by his notoriety off it, with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, dominating headlines long after his playing days.
Worldwide tributes poured in at the news of Maradona’s passing, with legendary sprinter Usain Bolt, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Brazilian great Pele all taking to social media to write personal messages.
In addition to his beloved Boca Juniors, Maradona also starred at Italian club Napoli, where he is held in God-like esteem as well as Barcelona and Argentinos Juniors.
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez has declared three days of mourning to honour Maradona.