It’s hard to write this with the news so fresh, but I wanted this to be a raw piece of my emotions having just found out that Diego Armando Maradona has passed away.
Aged 60, Maradona suffered a cardiac arrest according to reports and news broke of his death at round 16:15 (GMT) on November 25th 2020.
I’m not one for emotions usually, especially surrounding the death or lives of people I don’t know or have never met. Celebrities are just humans in my mind and Maradona should fall into that category realistically. That isn’t what happened though.
My mind raced, my stomach sank and I was legitimately shocked to read what I was reading. One of the greatest of all time was no longer with us.
I spent the next few hours watching videos and reading stories about Maradona and his career since I never really got to see him play having been born in 1993. I re-read old stories, still in awe.
It was when tributes started flooding in that you realise how many lives he touched. Yes he was quite obviously a mad man with crazy tendencies but he represented everything that I love about the beautiful game.
His flair, creativity and imagination shone through in everything he did. There was a video doing the rounds of him dancing with a random lady during an Argentina game at a recent World Cup. His smile and charisma shone there just as it did when he was on a football pitch. He didn’t do it for the cameras, it was just him.
He did all these tricks, flicks and magic on a football pitch before there was real money in the game. Before the superstardom across the world was a thing. Yet he was exactly that – a superstar.
You could argue that his most iconic moment is the ‘hand of God’ against England, but I’d argue against it. The man had so many more iconic moments in his career, that is just one that grabbed headlines on the biggest stage.
His goal in that same game where he dribbled past the whole England team, including the goalkeeper, is equally iconic. His goal against Belgium earlier in the tournament was just as good, but not as iconic.
The fight he had against Athletic Bilbao when they tried to quite literally kick him out of the game with tackles that today would see you landed with an assault charge, never mind a red card.
Nothing is more iconic than the ‘Maradona Seven’ in my eyes though. I spent hours upon hours, for weeks upon weeks, practicing how to master that skill that he made so effortless and easy.
The man was a rockstar, in an era where rockstars were still a thing in the music world. He literally inspired a generation of footballers on his own.
A celebrity death has never affected me in a way like this before but I felt numb and shock when I read this news. But as a friend of mine stated in a group chat on Whatsapp, if there is anyone who would want their life celebrated rather than mourned it would be Maradona.
As so many keep saying, his body may have left us but his legacy will be eternal.
One of the absolute best footballers to have ever played the game. Whether it be charity games or a World Cup final, he wanted to make an impact. For no reason other than he loved football.
He’s your favourite footballer’s favourite footballer. Rest in eternal peace, Diego Maradona.