In pictures: 1 year since the death of Diego Maradona | Gallery News
The world on Thursday celebrated the first anniversary of the death of Diego Maradona, considered by some to be the best footballer of all time and a man adored in his home country, Argentina, despite, or perhaps because of, his human faults.
Maradona died of a heart attack last November at the age of 60, weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot.
The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star had struggled for years with cocaine and alcohol and suffered from liver, kidney and cardiovascular problems when he died.
His death shocked fans around the world, and tens of thousands of people lined up to parade past his coffin, draped in the Argentinian flag, at the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires for three days of national mourning.
He may be dead, but in Argentina, Maradona is everywhere.
From ubiquitous murals that portray him as a deity to television series about his life and even a religion named after him.
His two goals in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals, which saw Argentina triumph over England just four years after the Falklands War, made Maradona an instant hero.
In Naples, where Maradona is as much an icon as in Buenos Aires, a statue of him was unveiled in front of the Naples stadium, which was renamed in tribute after his death.
On Thursday morning, the President of Naples, Aurelio De Laurentiis, laid flowers in the so-called “Largo Maradona”, an area of the famous “Spanish Quarter” of Naples covered with murals in honor of Argentina.
The club urged fans to arrive at Sunday night’s game with Lazio more than three hours early so they can be present for an “intense” commemoration ceremony, while De Laurentiis said statues would be placed inside the Naples stadium.
Maradona’s wealthy story, stellar athletic feats, complicated life, and dramatic death anchored her place in the Argentinian psyche.
In towns, Maradona’s name is commemorated in countless graffiti: “Diego lives”, “10 Eternal” and “D10S” – a play on words with the Spanish word for god, “Dios”, and the famous number of Maradona jersey.
Murals in Buenos Aires depict him with angel wings, like a patron saint with halo and scepter, or back here on Earth, embracing the World Cup.
Maradona is perhaps remembered as much for his ‘Hand of God’ goal – which illegally fell out of his hand in what he attributed to supernatural intervention – as for his second in the same match against England who would later become known as the “Goal of the Century”.
For historian Felipe Pigna, Maradona is “a hero with many imperfections” – a blend of qualities that reflects “what it means to be Argentinian”.