Maradona dies from cardiac arrest at 60

Nick Kaufman

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Not fully confirmed yet, but I see news of this in semireputable sources like the Sun and the Daily Mail. He had brain surgery earlier this month.
Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest, according to reports in his native Argentina.

The football legend had a heart attack at his home just two weeks after leaving hospital where he underwent surgery on a blot clot in his brain.
 

Kliq

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Nobody was a better representation of the South American game than Maradona, all the of the good and all of the bad. There will never be a player like that today; the game is too professional and organized, but Maradona's insanity was not what made him unique, his insane talent that consistently overruled his insanity was what made him special. He played so well that it rarely occurred for people to think about how much better Maradona would be if he wasn't on cocaine, if he wasn't overweight, if he actually took care of his body and focused more on soccer; it was just assumed that since Maradona was so good, there must be some explanation that suggests that Maradona had to do all of that stuff to be the genius that he was on the field.
 

Vinho Tinto

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He should have had a second World Cup, but he was left off the ‘78 squad. So much of the talk around Maradona is around his excess and shortcomings, but what he accomplished was immense. He was 15 years old when he became a first team player. The one regret that doesn’t get as much attention is not joining Boca earlier. Instead it’s one season of peak before finishing his career there with that wacky blonde streak in his hair.

Messi is clearly better, but he isn’t more beloved.

View: https://youtu.be/T-wyAd6eZQo
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Maradona occupies an odd place among football superstars. He played recently enough that a high proportion of football fans have some memory of his career, unlike predecessors like Cruyff or Beckenbauer, let alone Pele, Garrincha, Di Stefano, Puzkas, etc. But he was really the last superstar player of an earlier era in the game before the avalanche of TV money and commercialization changed everything. His career arc is essentially unthinkable today - playing almost his whole prime for Napoli, never really doing anything in the European Cup, having his career very powerfully defined by international football, etc.

He was insanely talented and its fun to play the game of "what would he be like if he played today?" But my suspicion is that the answer is kind of depressing. His personal demons, attitude, and poor work habits just wouldn't be conducive to truly elite play in an era where players need to be insanely fit and tactically kind of robotic and where club contributions - which require a very sustained commitment to fitness and tactical discipline - greatly outweigh international ones.

Football is better now but it was more fun when players like Maradona and Socrates could be big figures in the game, rather than robots like Cristiano and Lewandowski.
 

Vinho Tinto

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He was insanely talented and its fun to play the game of "what would he be like if he played today?" But my suspicion is that the answer is kind of depressing. His personal demons, attitude, and poor work habits just wouldn't be conducive to truly elite play in an era where players need to be insanely fit and tactically kind of robotic and where club contributions - which require a very sustained commitment to fitness and tactical discipline - greatly outweigh international ones.
Just focusing on the off field stuff, it would be a total disaster. His massive ego would have received nonstop gratification from being able to go online and endlessly increase his fame. His status in society would have been greater. As big as Maradona was, the marketing and attention the biggest stars receive today dwarfs what he had. Plus, he would have earned a paycheck that would made him above the Italian tax man. And his power at a club would be unfiltered. Whatever clubs could do to get him to put on his pants, and leave the bedroom he passed out in, would be gone.

Maradona was our imperfect star for the imperfect 1980s.
 

Kliq

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Maradona occupies an odd place among football superstars. He played recently enough that a high proportion of football fans have some memory of his career, unlike predecessors like Cruyff or Beckenbauer, let alone Pele, Garrincha, Di Stefano, Puzkas, etc. But he was really the last superstar player of an earlier era in the game before the avalanche of TV money and commercialization changed everything. His career arc is essentially unthinkable today - playing almost his whole prime for Napoli, never really doing anything in the European Cup, having his career very powerfully defined by international football, etc.

He was insanely talented and its fun to play the game of "what would he be like if he played today?" But my suspicion is that the answer is kind of depressing. His personal demons, attitude, and poor work habits just wouldn't be conducive to truly elite play in an era where players need to be insanely fit and tactically kind of robotic and where club contributions - which require a very sustained commitment to fitness and tactical discipline - greatly outweigh international ones.
To answer the question posed in your second paragraph, it would have to be accepted that Maradona's commitment to work would be different if he was born in 1990 instead of 1960. Would he have become a crazy, coke-fueled nightmare if he had been brought up in an era that valued professionalism to such a degree? Probably not. I wonder if there are recent examples of modern players that had Top 5 in the world talent, but were derailed due to personal issues/weight/drug problems? I guess one could compare him to Ronaldinho, whose career fizzled out at a younger age due to injuries, partying and a lack of fitness. Still though, Ronaldinho had a hell of a career and legacy.

I think in regards to international football defining his career, I think that is kind of a misconception. It's easy for people to remember who won each World Cup, there is only one every four years. It is much harder for people to remember the results of each domestic league season + Champions League, so the great performances often get forgotten. Maradona is defined by the 1986 World Cup because he was sensational on the biggest stage in the sport, but his club success was still awe-inspiring.

When Maradona went to Napoli, he was joining a team that had finished 11th in a 16 team league. Moreover, he was joining a league and a country that was defined by its North and South split. A team from Southern Italy had not won the league since Bologna in 1964. In three years, Napoli won the double, during an era when Serie A was probably the best league in the world. This would be like if Lionel Messi went to West Ham and won the EPL. I recommend to everyone the Maradona documentary that HBO produced a few years ago about Maradona in Napoli.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmm7r4ynyIQ
 

Tangled Up In Red

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I guess one could compare him to Ronaldinho, whose career fizzled out at a younger age due to injuries, partying and a lack of fitness. Still though, Ronaldinho had a hell of a career and legacy.
Good post and a second on the HBO doc. Fantastic.
Minor nit, but I think you meant Ronaldo (Brazil).
 

Nick Kaufman

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Bologna isn't in the South of Italy.

Also, the WC was the biggest deal in the 80s, it still is.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Napoli won the double, during an era when Serie A was probably the best league in the world.
It was the best league. Milan were the best team in the world. Their dominance was second to none. Forgotten in that era was how loaded Inter were. The team that finished in 3rd in 1990 had Matthaus, Klinsman, Brehme, Zenga and Bergomi.
 

Kliq

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It was the best league. Milan were the best team in the world. Their dominance was second to none. Forgotten in that era was how loaded Inter were. The team that finished in 3rd in 1990 had Matthaus, Klinsman, Brehme, Zenga and Bergomi.
Yeah, other people on here will now more about that era than me, but I think Serie A morphing into a retirement league/Juventus monarchy has changed the way people view past accomplishments, when the league was on top of the world in the 80s/90s. The Milan team actually was not good until the season after Maradona won the league for the first time in 86-87. Following that season, Milan was near bankruptcy but was sold to Silvio Berlusconi who brought in Arrigo Sacchi and splashed money at the three Dutch attackers, Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, to go along with defenders in Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi and the team would be the best team in the world for the rest of the decade. Throw in that team with loaded Inter and Juventus squads, it was amazing what Maradona was able to do, winning two titles with Napoli.
 

Nick Kaufman

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I am surprised this thread isn't busy. It's a pretty big deal worldwide.



Translation: God is dead.
 

Ale Xander

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Nobody was a better representation of the South American game than Maradona, all the of the good and all of the bad. There will never be a player like that today; the game is too professional and organized, but Maradona's insanity was not what made him unique, his insane talent that consistently overruled his insanity was what made him special. He played so well that it rarely occurred for people to think about how much better Maradona would be if he wasn't on cocaine, if he wasn't overweight, if he actually took care of his body and focused more on soccer; it was just assumed that since Maradona was so good, there must be some explanation that suggests that Maradona had to do all of that stuff to be the genius that he was on the field.
Nails it

RIP Diego
 

Ale Xander

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Maradona occupies an odd place among football superstars. He played recently enough that a high proportion of football fans have some memory of his career, unlike predecessors like Cruyff or Beckenbauer, let alone Pele, Garrincha, Di Stefano, Puzkas, etc. But he was really the last superstar player of an earlier era in the game before the avalanche of TV money and commercialization changed everything. His career arc is essentially unthinkable today - playing almost his whole prime for Napoli, never really doing anything in the European Cup, having his career very powerfully defined by international football, etc.

He was insanely talented and its fun to play the game of "what would he be like if he played today?" But my suspicion is that the answer is kind of depressing. His personal demons, attitude, and poor work habits just wouldn't be conducive to truly elite play in an era where players need to be insanely fit and tactically kind of robotic and where club contributions - which require a very sustained commitment to fitness and tactical discipline - greatly outweigh international ones.

Football is better now but it was more fun when players like Maradona and Socrates could be big figures in the game, rather than robots like Cristiano and Lewandowski.
This also nails it.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Serie A was definitely the best league in the world for a time and Milan the top club. But its also striking just how much parity there was in football at that time compared to now, as the massive financial differences between clubs hadn't really begun to show. Milan was the best team in the world...but they needed extra time to beat Belgian giants KV Michelin in the European Cup quarterfinals, then more extra time to beat Bayern in the semis, then hung on for a 1-0 win over Benfica in the final. And the year before they needed penalties to beat Red Star (who were stacked) after a crazy scenario in which fog necessitated a replay and probably saved them from defeat, only beat Werder 1-0 over two legs, etc. And in the league Milan only won one title under Sacchi before having more success under Capello. But even in the Capello years they weren't dominant domestically in the way we expect big clubs to dominate now. One season they won the league while scoring 36 goals in 34 matches!
 
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Nick Kaufman

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Serie A was definitely the best league in the world for a time and Milan the top club. But its also striking just how much parity there was in football at that time compared to now, as the massive financial differences between clubs hadn't really begun to show. Milan was the best team in the world...but they needed extra time to beat Belgian giants KV Michelin in the European Cup quarterfinals, then more extra time to beat Bayern in the semis, then hung on for a 1-0 win over Benfica in the final. And the year before they needed penalties to beat Red Star (who were stacked), only beat Werder 1-0 over two legs, etc. And in the league Milan only won one title under Sacchi before having more success under Capello. But even in the Capello years they weren't dominant domestically in the way we expect big clubs to dominate now. One season they won the league while scoring 36 goals in 34 matches!
There are two factors.

First, the discrepancy between the richest and poorest clubs was narrower, because you didn't have the infusion of TV money that came in the 90s or the merchandizing opportunities that came with the globalization of the sport in the oughts.

Second, the European cup competitions only allowed one team for the champions league and cup's winner cup, while the format with the home and way fixtures was more amenable to upsets than the group stages.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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There are two factors.

First, the discrepancy between the richest and poorest clubs was narrower, because you didn't have the infusion of TV money that came in the 90s or the merchandizing opportunities that came with the globalization of the sport in the oughts.

Second, the European cup competitions only allowed one team for the champions league and cup's winner cup, while the format with the home and way fixtures was more amenable to upsets than the group stages.
I think its mainly about the money as well as the relaxation of rules regarding fielding foreigners.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Btw, looking at Napoli's squad from 1988, they also had Alemao and Careca, it wasn't just Maradona. I also don't think the West Ham analogy is apt, Napoli is the second-third biggest market in Italy; looking at the stats they had the biggest gate for 15 years from 74 to 89, having an attendance of 70k people or so. That's why they became competitive again when the got promoted from Serie B.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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I was 14 in 1986.
Maradona showed me why it is called The Beautiful Game.
Maradona showed me that there is magic in the sport.
Maradona showed me creativity that my mind couldn't even comprehend, let alone imagine. But it was right there to behold.
RIP DAM
 

Kliq

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Good post and a second on the HBO doc. Fantastic.
Minor nit, but I think you meant Ronaldo (Brazil).
No I meant Ronaldinho. While Ronaldo was certainly fat, to me his peak ended due to injury. Ronaldinho liked to party, got out of shape and was pretty much done by the time he turned 30.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Leaving in a bit to the studio :)
(not to disparage the dead, but)

I mentioned to my 19 y/o, who got a Hand of God yellow early in a very big playoff game in high school (we won in regulation), that Maradona was only a year older than me.

Out of the mouths of babes: "A ton of cocaine in your 20s and 30s can do that."
 

Vinho Tinto

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Russell Brand on why Maradona’s death matters.

View: https://youtu.be/t3XSeEj5mLs


Maradona’s final goal for Argentina vs Greece (1994 World Cup at Foxboro Stadium). He played in their second match vs Nigeria too (Also played in Foxboro). He was flagged for ephedrine after the 2nd match and was suspended for the tournament. The image of him after scoring is iconic, but he was great that day and vs Nigeria. Had people wondering if Argentina were now a real dark horse. Then the news of his suspension hit and it turned into another fiasco.

View: https://youtu.be/XJ4qF0QkcT4
 

Zososoxfan

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Maradona and the 94 WC are the single biggest reasons I'm a futbol fanatic. My family's from Buenos Aires and it's my earliest childhood memory of pro sports. The fact that La Seleccion were going to be in our backyard at Foxboro was insane. We had family from all over the world staying with us for 2 weeks, so we could go root for the Albiceleste.

One thing to add as we continue to celebrate and discuss this endlessly fascinating person and footballer is that the highest level of the sport was still the International Game in the 80s. I think the sport had begun its transition to having the highest level be at clubs, but when Maradona was playing, I think the public still thought of international success as the greatest achievement. This is why Diego is remembered first and foremost as Albiceleste, and second as Napoli. Nonetheless, what he did at Napoli is extraordinary, and would be akin to LCFC winning the EPL twice instead of once, and adding a UCL for good measure. But again, these are all just analogies to understand what remains bonkers achievements.