Diego Maradona became a national hero and global icon at the Mexico 86 World Cup
Diego Maradona became a national hero and global icon at the Mexico 86 World Cup Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Diego Maradona, regarded as one of the world’s greatest ever footballers, has died after suffering a cardiac arrest, his spokesman has announced.

Earlier this month, the diminutive Argentina star - who played for clubs such as Barcelona, Napoli and Boca Juniors - was released from hospital following successful surgery on a blood clot on the brain. It was also revealed at the time he was undergoing treatment for alcohol dependency.

Maradona captained the Argentina team to World Cup triumph at Mexico 86, scoring one of the world's most famous and sublime individual goals against England in the quarter-finals. In the same match he also showed his darker side five minutes earlier by using his hand to punch the ball over goalkeeper Peter Shilton to score his first goal of the game.

He also won two Serie A titles with Italian giants Napoli.

"The best of the lot, no question," Brazil's Zico, a rival of Maradona's at Mexico 86, said. "I saw Maradona do things that God himself would doubt were possible."

After retiring Maradona developed heart problems caused by drug and alcohol addiction, and he endured wild weight and fitness swings that seemed to reflect his do-or-die attitudes to both soccer and life. I am black or white," Maradona said in 2009. "I'll never be grey."

Maradona made the move into coaching in 1994 following his ejection from USA 94 for failing a drug test. He managed the Argentina national side from 2008-10, coached Al Wasl in the UAE in 2011-12, and returned to manage Fujairah in 2017.