In Pictures: One-Year anniversary of Diego Maradona’s death

, In Pictures: One-Year anniversary of Diego Maradona’s death, Nzuchi Times National News
, In Pictures: One-Year anniversary of Diego Maradona’s death, Nzuchi Times National News

The world on Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Diego Maradona, regarded by some as the best football player of all time and a man adored in his home country 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 had battled cocaine and alcohol addictions for years and was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.

His death shocked fans around the world, and tens of thousands queued to file past his coffin, draped in the Argentine flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires during three days of national mourning.

He may be dead, but in Argentina Maradona is everywhere.

From ubiquitous mural frescos that portray him as a deity to television series about his life and even a religion bearing his name.

His two goals in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals, 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 outside Napoli’s stadium, which was renamed in tribute following his death.

, In Pictures: One-Year anniversary of Diego Maradona’s death, Nzuchi Times National News

On Thursday morning Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis left flowers at the so-called ‘Largo Maradona’, an area in Naples’ famous ‘Spanish Quarter’ covered in murals in the Argentine’s honour.

The club urged fans to arrive at Sunday night’s match with Lazio more than three hours early so they could be present for an “intense” commemoration ceremony, while De Laurentiis said statues would be placed inside Napoli’s stadium.

Maradona’s rags-to-riches story, stellar sporting achievements, complicated life and dramatic death entrenched 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 of words with the Spanish word for god, “Dios”, and Maradona’s famous jersey number.

Murals in Buenos Aires depict him with angel wings, as a patron saint complete with halo and sceptre, or back here on Earth, kissing the World Cup.

Maradona is perhaps remembered as much for his “Hand of God” goal – which illegally came off his hand in what he ascribed to supernatural intervention – as for his second in the same match against England which would later become known as the “Goal of the Century”.

For historian Felipe Pigna, Maradona is “a hero with many imperfections” – a mixed bag of qualities that reflects “what it means to be Argentinian”.