Maradona: death of a legend

The football star Diego Maradona died of a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 60. Maradona, who came from a poor district of Buenos Aires, was considered one of the best footballers of all time and, at the peak of his career, helped both Argentina and SSC Napoli to win major titles in 1986 and 1987.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

Blind drunk in the VIP stand

For De Volkskrant columnist Bert Wagendorp, Maradona is one of those people whose time of death everyone will remember:

“Where were you when you heard about it? However, anyone who wants to belong to the 'Where were you' group of dead people would do well to not only perform excellently in their own discipline, but also to shine in other areas. Maradona snorted a lot of cocaine, surrounded herself with scum, developed a sex addiction, became disgustingly fat and went to the VIP stand totally drunk. He shot his most famous goal with his hand, his most beautiful one with two feet. ... You would think that with a football career like this, that's all beside the point. But you can also see that he was a self-destructive man who was brought down by his fame and unique talent and the vultures that he attracted.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

An anti-hero with divine legs

A great man is gone, says Jutarnji list:

“He was an addict, a drug addict. He was rude, and made fun of great clubs like Barcelona, but also of Fifa. ... Never before, and never since, has anyone polarised the football world to such an extent. ... If ever anyone approached the status of an international folk hero, it was Diego ... This chubby little man with a terrible sense of style, dubious beliefs and numerous criminal decisions was somehow one of us. ... Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, the 'real' Ronaldo, Pele and even someone who comes later will never come close to him. Maradona was a sinner with a devilish soul and divine legs. The greatest.” (GR) /

An icon of the disadvantaged

Maradona had his greatest admirers among those who lived in the shadow of others, writes the Internet portal

“He went to Naples and made it to the championship. He offered the eternally underestimated Italian south the pride that it had been looking for for years in the north, which always looked down on it. ... He was never just a 'sports machine' without thoughts and feelings. He always showed his social and political conscience. It's not for nothing that he has a large tattoo of his compatriot Che on his arm. He stood by Fidel Castro and Chavez. He always spoke of the humiliated and oppressed, and it was always the poor and the simple people who took him as their idol. And that is why he was revered more than any other footballer.” (RO) /

As beloved as Mamma

Business analyst Claudiu Vuță recalls Maradona's important time in Naples on

“Neapolitan fans usually have two photos in their bags - one of their mother and one of Maradona. They love him and will mourn him, because the Argentinian gave them confidence that they can win against teams like AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan and Sampdoria Genoa. Insulting Maradona is tantamount to insulting someone's mother in Naples, and that's no joke. … The whole world will mourn Maradona, but football fans will always remember him in two places because he was one of their own - Argentina and Naples!”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

Inhumanly exploited

Tygodnik Powszechny recalls the pressure the young Maradona in particular was under:

“On the day of his untimely death, it's difficult not to think about how inhumanly he was exploited. Before he reached the age of twenty he'd already played in over two hundred games in the Argentine league, he struggled constantly with a hamstring injury and took painkillers regularly. His club at the time, Boca Juniors, was so financially dependent on the fans who wanted to see the young virtuoso on the pitch that he had to play - no matter how much damage it did to his body. ... Now that he is dead, one can't help thinking that it wasn't Maradona who was immature, but the world in which he lived.”

Azonnali (HU) /

A tragic idol

Too much of being worshipped isn't good for anyone, Patrik Galavits writes in Azonnali:

“Everyone wanted to see him as a god, and maybe he himself believed he was God. ... Such a burden cannot be borne without losing one's sanity. He didn't succeed either. ... For a couple of decades he was considered more god than human, and then he remained a legend forever. But was he happy?”