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In Photos: Maradona a genius on the field, a character off

On the soccer field, he was considered as a genius. Outside, he was a character known practically everywhere, by everybody.

Diego Maradona, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 60, started his story as a player in the Villa Fiorito neighborhood in Buenos Aires and over the decades he became a soccer great.

He debuted with Argentinos Juniors and then jumped to the mythical Boca Juniors, where in 1981 he got his first title as a professional soccer player. Then, it was off to Europe, and his legend began.

In this June 22, 1986 file photo, Argentina’s Diego Maradona, left, beats England’s goalkeeper Peter Shilton to a high ball and scores his first of two goals at the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match in Mexico City. (El Grafico via AP, File)

In this on May 10, 1987 file photo, Argentine soccer superstar Diego Armando Maradona cheers after the Napoli team clinched its first Italian major league title in Naples, Italy. (AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti, File )

He won three titles with the Barcelona club, becoming a world soccer figure. But Maradona won a place as one of the all-time greats when he led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title in Mexico, where he scored one of the most storied goals in soccer history — the “Hand of God” goal that helped defeat England in a quarterfinal match.

Pundits have debated about who was the best soccer player in history — whether Maradona or Pelé, the iconic Brazilian who retired in 1977 and is still alive. There has been no consensus.

Maradona and Pelé had a very good relationship until the Argentine failed a doping test and was expelled from the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Pelé criticized him and they parted ways until 2005, when they re-established a relationship.

Maradona retired in 1997, but he remained linked to soccer. He was Argentina’s team coach.

Off the field, Maradona was an outspoken personality who leaned to leftist ideology. He was a good friend of Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban revolution, and was also close to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

In this June 13, 1982 file photo, Argentina’s Diego Maradona, front, is attacked by Belgium’s Guy Vandermissen during the opening game of the Soccer World Cup in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo, File)

In this June 22, 1986 file photo, Argentina’s Diego Maradona, second left, scores his second goal against England during the World Cup quarter final match, in Mexico City, Mexico. (AP Photo, File)

In this June 29, 1982 file photo, Diego Maradona is tackled by Italy’s Claudio Gentile during a World Cup second-round match between Italy and Argentina at Sarra Stadium in Barcelona, Spain.(AP Photo, File)

Argentina soccer star Diego Armando Maradona has a big smile as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 11, 1985. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes, File)

In this June 10, 1987 file photo, former Brazilian soccer player Pele, center, clasps hands with Italian captain Alessandro Altobelli, left, and Argentine captain Diego Maradona, after he is awarded the FIFA honor medal before the start of the final match between Argentina and Italy in Zurich, Switzerland. (AP Photo, File)

In this March 1987 file photo, Pele, left, and Diego Maradona, hold trophies during an awards ceremony in Italy. (AP Photo/File)

In this June 25, 1994 file photo, Diego Maradona leaves the field of play for a random drug test with a medical technician of the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) after the team’s 2-1 win over Nigeria in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta, File)

In this July 14, 1996 file photo released by Telam, Boca Juniors’ Diego Maradona, right, and teammate Claudio Caniggia kiss as they celebrate Caniggia’s goal, their team’s second against River Plate, before their 4-1 victory in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Telam via AP File)

In this Oct. 25, 1997 file photo, Diego Armando Maradona celebrates a goal on his last official soccer game with Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Eduardo Di Baia, File)

In this Nov. 4, 2005 file photo, Diego Armando Maradona speaks to the crowd as he is embraced by Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez during a rally against the presence of U.S. President Bush at the Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)

In this Oct. 27, 2005 file photo released by the Cuban government’s National Information Agency (AIN), Cuban President Fidel Castro, right, meets Argentina’s former soccer star Diego Maradona on the program “Mesa Redonda” in Havana, Cuba. (AIN/Ismael Francisco via AP)

In this March 26, 2006 file photo, former soccer player Diego Maradona smokes a cigar as he watches Argentina’s first division soccer match between Boca Juniors and River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

In this April 22, 2008 file photo, former Boca Juniors player and soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona celebrates a goal by Boca Juniors at a Copa Libertadores match against Venezuela’s Union Maracaibo in Buenos Aires. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

In this May 20, 2008 file photo, former Argentine soccer player Maradona, gets a kiss from his daughters Giannina Dinorah, left, and Dalma Nerea, as they arrive for the premiere of “Maradona” during the 61st International film festival in Cannes, southern France. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

In this May 20, 2008 file photo former Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona poses during the photo call for the documentary “Maradona” during the 61st International film festival in Cannes, southern France. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

In this Oct. 10, 2009 file photo, under the pouring rain, Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona looks up under the pouring rain during a 2010 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Peru, in Buenos Aires. Argentina won 2-1. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

In this June 27, 2010 file photo, Argentina head coach Diego Maradona, left, gives instructions to Argentina’s Lionel Messi during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

In this June 27, 2010 file photo, Argentina head coach Diego Maradona gestures during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

In this file photo taken on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Argentinian soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona talk prior to the 2018 soccer World Cup draw in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

In this Sept. 1, 2014 file photo, Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona watches the ball as he warms up prior to the start of an inter-religious match for peace, supported by Pope Francis to promote the dialogue and peace among different religions, at Rome’s Olympic Stadium. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

In this Sept. 8, 2019 file photo, former soccer great Diego Maradona gets emotional during a news conference after his presentation as the new head coach of the Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata soccer team in La Plata, Argentina. (AP Photo/Marcos Brindicci, File)

In this Dec. 26, 2019 file photo, former soccer great Diego Maradona flashes victory signs to fans below at the Casa Rosada government house after meeting with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Marcos Brindicci, File)

Source: United News of Bangladesh