Sports world mourns passing of Diego Maradona

The Argentina and Napoli legend died from a heart attack weeks after his 60th birthday.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Argentinian football hero Diego Maradona has died after suffering a heart attack at his home in Tigre. He was 60 years old.

His death was confirmed by Argentinian Football Association president Claudio Tapia who expressed his "deepest sorrow" at the news.

Maradona underwent surgery two weeks ago on a blood clot on his brain.

It was the latest in a number of health issues in recent years for the midfield maestro who will be remembered as one of the greatest footballers in history.

The left-footed magician inspired his country to victory at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, famously scoring with the 'Hand of God' against England before slaloming past six defenders and shooting home for a spectacular winner.

He also led Napoli to the Serie A title in Italy for the first time in 1987, repeating that success in 1990.

At the time of his death, Maradona was head coach of Gimnasia de La Plata having taken charge of the Argentinian Primera Division club in September last year.

Figures from football and beyond were quick to pay tribute following the announcement of his death.

Maradona's impact on football

Diego Armando Maradona was born in Buenos Aires on 30th October 1960.

He made his name in his homeland with Argentinos Juniors and then Boca Juniors before moving to Spanish giants Barcelona after the 1982 World Cup.

He moved to Napoli in July 1984 and became a hero, lifting the southern Italian club to their first Scudetto in 1987.

Maradona also attracted notoriety during his time in Italy, missing matches and practice due to a number of off-the-field issues.

Not long after leading Napoli to their second title, he tested positive for cocaine and served a 15-month ban before exiting the club.

He then joined Sevilla and the Argentinian club Newell's Old Boys before ending his career back at Boca Juniors.

But it is for his exploits in the shirt of 'La Albiceleste', the Argentinian national team, that he will be best remembered.

Maradona led the team to glory at the 1986 World Cup and to the final four years later where they lost an ill-tempered match to West Germany.

He made an unlikely return to the squad for the 1994 World Cup and played all 90 minutes in both their opening group game wins.

He then tested positive for the banned stimulant ephedrine after the victory over Nigeria, ending his international career for good.

But his performances for Argentina inspired those that followed including the heir to his throne, Lionel Messi.

Messi said back in 2015 that Maradona was one of his biggest influences in his early days in football.

He told, "I never followed anyone in particular, although when I started to think for myself Diego had recently returned home. That was in 1993. He joined Newell’s Old Boys when he came back from Spain and was part of the national team that qualified for USA '94. If anybody inspired me starting out, it was undoubtedly him."

There was no more passionate supporter of Argentinian sport than Maradona who would often be seen in the crowd cheering his country on, not least at the 2008 Olympic final.

Maradona never played in the Olympic Games, but he was thrilled to see Messi and Argentina win gold in Beijing.