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Comrade Maradona: The anti-establishment football God with leftist leanings

Diego was a flawed genius who fought for democracy and social justice and saw a second father in Cuba's Fidel Castro

Diego Maradona | football | sports

Anish Kumar  |  New Delhi 

You can say a lot of things about me, but you can never say I don't take risks: Maradona

held the Hand of God four years later, on the day his friend and world leader died (November 25, 2016). Right from his birth in 1960 to Argentina's World Cup triumph in 1986 and his positive drug test at the 1994 final, to the day he died of a heart attack at home in the Buenos Aires, Maradona polarised emotions like few others. He lived a life marked by on-field glory, off-field scandals, and political activism. Maradona, who was a great fan of Cuban cigars, regarded Castro as his 'second father' and had been a strong supporter of Communism.

I am black or white, I'll never be grey in my life: Maradona

Castro, who met Maradona in 1987, invited him to undergo treatment in Cuba after he almost died of a cocaine overdose in 2000.

In 2011, Maradona dedicated his biography to Castro and the Cuban people. He had tattoos of the comandante, whom he described as a "God," and his Argentine confidant Che Guevara.

I am Maradona, who makes goals, who makes mistakes. I can take it all, I have shoulders big enough to fight with everybody: Maradona
The former Bolivian president Evo Morales, an ardent soccer fan, recruited Maradona to play against him in a charity match in La Paz in 2008, to show his backing for Bolivia's campaign against a Fifa ban on games at high altitude. The ban was later overturned.

The greatest of all time: Why Maradona was better than Messi and Ronaldo
You can say a lot of things about me, but you can never say I don't take risks: Maradona
Maradona had been a fierce critic of the US and supported Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in the face of American sanctions on his government.
To see the ball, to run after it , makes me the happiest man in the world: Maradona
But all of Maradona's political activism grabbed global attention after he single-handedly led his team to World Cup glory in 1986. came into the tournament after losing a war against the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas to the Latin American nation). The Argentine displayed a superlative performance against England in the quarterfinals and scored two goals; including the 'Hand of God' nudge past the English goalkeeper.


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First Published: Thu, November 26 2020. 18:24 IST