Goodbye, Maradona – the player of people

Pakistan is the land of cricket, hockey, squash, kabbadi and so on. The country has hardly standing among football nations. But it was Diego Armando Maradona whose charisma, wiggle of the feet, athletic moves, flick of the wrist, dodging moves and a glint in his eyes made football popular among not only Pakistanis but also other South Asian nations. His fans are found in all continents. He remained an undisputed king of football grounds for almost two decades giving the fans a hero moment. He always stood out as an individual because of his natural talent and sheer hard work.

Millions of fans across the world bid adieu to Argentina’s soccer legend Maradona on Thursday. The world loved him for he rose to fame from the poor neighborhood of Buenos Aires to glorify the soccer field from the platform of his country and several clubs he represented. Though his actions on grounds were perfect as per the sport rules, his off-the-field moves were often controversial. He remained in the news for his battles with drug addiction, his habit of challenging authority, and the children he only owned as father later in life. The fame, the riches, and the idol status, however, could not steal the boy within him who represented the masses. He made the most of his charisma when he did politics for the grassroots neighbourhoods often standing by left wing politicians and ideologies. Among his close circles included Latin American leftist leaders, such as legendary Fidel Castro of Cuba and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

It is said he died from a heart attack, though the government of his country has announced conducting the post mortem examination of the body to ascertain ‘other causes’. He was 60. The Argentinian government has announced a three day state mourning to pay last respects to the football idol. With death, Maradona stunned the world for the last time. In the days to come, the world will keep missing Maradona for his charm, talent, causes and closeness to the public. He will remain a public hero despite his personal flaws. That is the beauty of life.

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