Thousands of fans of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona will mark the first anniversary of his passing, amid legal disputes over how he died and allegations about past relationships that threaten to tarnish his legacy.
Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, died on November 25, 2020 at the age of 60 due to a heart attack.
Born in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Maradona has become a symbol for many in Argentina and around the world, and was a hero in Naples, Italy, where he helped lead the small team to coronation locally and in Europe.
Maradona’s memory is immortalized by many frescoes, statues and tattoos. The children, boys and girls, were named after him after his passing.
“Diego made us feel a lot of things,” Ezequiel Rossi, a 34-year-old teacher in Argentina, told Reuters this week. It was so cool seeing this kid who started with nothing and suddenly had it all. He made us dream and imagine that we could also do great things.
Maradona’s personal life was controversial, marked by abuses such as drug and alcohol abuse, having many children and friendships with powerful leaders such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Fidel Castro in Cuba.
This week, a Cuban woman who had an affair with Maradona two decades ago when she was 16 and he is about 40 accused the star of “stealing her childhood” and raping her once.
Napoli, who led Maradona to the Serie A title in 1987 and 1990, will play three matches this month in a shirt with a black and white image of Maradona as a young man. Two teams that the former Argentine captain played for, Barcelona and Boca Juniors, will compete for the “Maradona Cup” within the season of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
For many, Thursday will be a sad day.
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