In pictures: One year anniversary of Diego Maradona’s death | News Gallery
The world on Thursday commemorated the first anniversary of the death of Diego Maradona, considered by some to be the best footballer of all time and a beloved man in his native Argentina despite or perhaps because of his human flaws.
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 struggled with cocaine and alcohol addiction for years and was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he passed away.
His death shocked audiences around the world, and tens of thousands queued in front of his Argentina-flagged coffin at the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires during three days of national mourning.
He may be dead, but Maradona is everywhere in Argentina.
From the ubiquitous murals depicting him as a god to TV series about his life and even a religion bearing his name.
His two goals in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, which saw Argentina beat England just four years after the Falklands War, made Maradona an instant hero.
In Naples, where Maradona is as much an icon as he is in Buenos Aires, a statue of him was unveiled outside the Naples stadium, which was renamed in his honor after his death.
The President of Naples, Aurelio De Laurentiis, on Thursday morning, left 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 get to Sunday night’s match with Lazio more than three hours before so they can attend an “intense” memorial party, while De Laurentiis said the statues will be placed inside the Napoli stadium.
Maradona’s story of poverty to riches, remarkable sporting achievements, complex lives and dramatic death cemented his place in the Argentine psyche.
In the cities, Maradona’s name is memorialized in countless graffiti: “Diego lives,” “10 eternal” and “D10S” – a play on words with the Spanish word for god, “dios,” and Maradona’s famous shirt number.
Murals depict him in Buenos Aires with angel wings, as a patron saint complete with a halo and a scepter, or here on Earth, kissing the World Cup.
Maradona is perhaps most remembered for his ‘Hand of God’ goal – which was illegally thrown out of his hand at what he attributed to supernatural interference – as well as for his second goal in the same match against England which later became known as the ‘Goal of the Hundred Years’.
For historian Felipe Peña, Maradona is a “hero with many flaws” – a mixed bag of adjectives that reflect “what it means to be Argentine”.