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What Diego Maradona meant to Argentina

The footballer was a mirror of Argentina—its passion, its social problems, its aspirations

By Daniel Rey  

The fifth child of a factory hand who was raised in a shanty town and never grew taller than 5’5, Diego Armando Maradona was a pugnacious underdog who became a national hero.

Speaking after Maradona succumbed to a heart attack last Wednesday, Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández, eulogised “You took us to the top of the world.”

Maradona was born in Buenos Aires in 1960—the 150th anniversary of the republic’s revolt against Spain. Earlier that year, the exiled strongman Juan…

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