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Just when we thought we have seen the worst of 2020, news just filtered in confirms that Argentinian football legend and winner of the 1986 World Cup, Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60.
Maradona was hospitalized earlier this month after undergoing surgery for a blood clot on the brain. The surgery was successful but, just weeks later, Maradona has passed away. The news has been confirmed by ESPN Argentina and TyC Sports. Journalist Cesar Luis Merlo reports that doctors attempted to revive Maradona.
We have gathered 10 FACTS about the player many people consider as the greatest player of all time.
- He was the first son after four daughters. He has two younger brothers, Hugo (el Turco) and Raúl (Lalo), both of whom were also professional football players. His parents were Diego Maradona “Chitoro” (d. 2015) and Dalma Salvadora Franco ‘Doña Tota’ (1930–2011).
- On 20 October 1976, Maradona made his professional debut for Argentinos Juniors, 10 days before his 16th birthday vs. Talleres de Córdoba.
- Maradona scored his first goal in the Primera División against Marplatense team San Lorenzo on 14 November 1976, two weeks after turning 16.
- Maradona was transferred to Barcelona in Spain for a then world record fee of £5 million ($7.6 million).
- Maradona played his first World Cup tournament in 1982 in his new country of residence, Spain. Argentina played Belgium in the opening game of the 1982 Cup at the Camp Nou in Barcelona.
- In a 2019 documentary film on his life, Maradona confessed that his weekly regime consisted of “playing a game on Sunday, going out until Wednesday, then hitting the gym on Thursday.”
- Born to a Roman Catholic family, his parents were Diego Maradona Senior and Dalma Salvadora Franco. Maradona married long-time fiancée Claudia Villafañe on 7 November 1984 in Buenos Aires, and they had two daughters, Dalma Nerea (born 2 April 1987) and Gianinna Dinorah (born 16 May 1989), by whom he became a grandfather in 2009.
- By 1982, Maradona had become one of the biggest sports stars in the world and had endorsements with many companies, including Puma and Coca-Cola, earning him an additional $1.5 million per year on top of his club salary.
- Maradona features in the music video to the 2010 World Cup song “Waka Waka” by Shakira, with footage shown of him celebrating Argentina winning the 1986 World Cup.
- Maradona began his managerial career alongside former Argentinos Juniors midfield teammate Carlos Fren. The pair led Mandiyú of Corrientes in 1994 and Racing Club in 1995, with little success.