Notorious for his wild lifestyle, Argentina great Diego Maradona turns 60 on Friday in far more sober circumstances sheltered in self-isolation to protect him from the coronavirus pandemic.
Having suffered two heart attacks in the last 20 years and contracted hepatitis, Maradona’s precaution after a bodyguard started displaying coronavirus symptoms earlier this week is understandable.
A life of excesses with cocaine and alcohol have taken their toll on the mercurial talent’s health.
“It was impossible that this lad would turn out well,” said former international and Boca Juniors team-mate Hugo Perotti said earlier this year.
Perotti was referring to Maradona’s early fame that set him on a path to brilliance, glory but also excess and almost tragedy.
Born in a poor Buenos Aires neighborhood on October 30, 1960, Diego Armando Maradona quickly marked himself out as special talent.
Since then this charismatic and contradictory man has fallen many times only to rise again from the abyss, and always in his unique and inimitable way.
Defiant and ingenious, macho, a loyal friend and spiteful enemy, Maradona has always been magnetic.
“At 18 he couldn’t walk around in Africa. A plane was stuck because the runaway was full of people,” said Perotti.
“It was in 1981, when there was no internet, mobile phones, nothing. He surpassed every human and normal barrier. And I think he paid the consequences of all this.”
First came the highs. Having made his name helping Boca win the Argentine title, he earned a move to Catalan giants Barcelona at just 21.
At 25 he practically singlehandedly dragged Argentina to World Cup glory at Mexico 86.