Arguably the greatest soccer player to ever live, Argentina’s Diego Armando Maradona has died, his attorney confirmed to Reuters. He was 60.
Several news outlets across Latin America are reporting that the former World Cup winner suffered a heart attack in his home, just two weeks after an urgent surgery to repair a brain bleed.
Maradona has been the focus of various scripted projects and documentaries in recent years. Amazon Prime Video is currently working on a scripted bio-series about the player, “Maradona: Sueño Bendito,” directed by Alejandro Aimetta, produced by BTF Media, Dhana Media and Raze. Covering his entire life, the series will feature three actors in the titular role: Juan Palomino (adult), Nazareno Casero (adolescent) and Nicolás Goldschmidt (child).
The series follows the life of the former player through different stages of his life, starting at the beginning of his career with Villa Fiorito and Bocca Juniors, through his glory days with the Argentine National Team in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and his time at Napoli and Barcelona. Finally, the story will shift to his tumultuous post-playing career, revisiting his tribute in La Bombonera – Boca Juniors home stadium – in 2001, his time as the national team head coach in the 2010 South Africa World Cup, and his various media scandals and middling coaching career.
Filmmaker Asif Kapadia directed Amazon Prime Video’s documentary “Diego Maradona,” released in 2019, and tweeted his disbelief that the larger-than-life figure had passed away.
Cant quite believe DM has gone. Hard to process. He always seemed indestructible. I had 10 hours with the man!! I touched his left foot. We did our best to show the world the man, the myth, the fighter he was. The greatest #legend #DiegoMaradona @MaradonaMovie #Diego #maradona pic.twitter.com/4BSULN9rdt
— asifkapadia (@asifkapadia) November 25, 2020
Maradona, often referred to as “El Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Boy”) is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time alongside Pelé, and the two shared FIFA’s Player of the 20th Century award in 2000. On the field, Maradona’s vision, passing, otherworldly ball control and dribbling skills were lightning to watch. He was a prolific goal scorer and a set piece specialist. Three decades later, film footage of his exploits feature in YouTube soccer skill reels as often as clips from most contemporary players.
Maradona was the first player in soccer history to set the world record transfer fee twice, first when he transferred to Barcelona for a then-world record $6.69 million, and second, when he transferred to Napoli for another record fee of $9.23 million.
For Argentina, he made 91 appearances, scoring 34 goals. He played in four World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup in Mexico as Argentina’s captain, leading the country to victory over West Germany in the final. He was honored with the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. His most famous — or infamous — moment also came in that world cup, when he punched in a goal against England, eliminating them from the tournament. The moment is a talking point to this day, and referred to as “The Hand of God.”
Maradona’s leadership on the field is often credited with his teams’ performances and made him an obvious candidate for a coaching career after his retirement as a player.