Fraser Watson pays a tribute to one of greatest footballers of all time - Maradona

Diego Maradona Fraser WatsonOften colossal, sometimes controversial, always captivating. 
Diego Maradona was a rare footballing commodity. A genius with undeniable flaws, a golden talent tainted by misdemeanour; a maverick whose status could switch from loathed villain to untouchable god in mere moments. 
Perhaps this was never encapsulated better than the infamous game between his beloved Argentina and England in the 1986 World Cup. The deliberate handball past Peter Shilton that put his side 1-0 up after 51 minutes saw him loathed by many.  
On 55 minutes, he would score one of the great solo international goals which even the most hardened of patriotic English supporters had little choice but to admire. 

Whether you loved him or hated him, you could never ignore him. 

His role in that subsequent 1986 success, plus his heroics with Napoli, defined his ability - but his legacy extended way beyond that. 
He wasn’t governed by footballing science, or a desire to rack up stats. Maradona was a man who loved playing football, who loved to have the ball at his feet, who would dribble past defenders on the biggest stage as if he were on the school playground. 

Long-lasting legacy

He helped a generation of youngsters fall in love with the beautiful game and in the eyes of so many, that overrides any of his disciplinary lapses, some of which surfaced on the field, many of which proved ugly media storms off it. 
Sadly, health problems – and a desire to live life in the fast lane irrespective of the consequences - meant a sense of inevitability about his premature demise. At the age of 60, the man Gary Lineker yesterday dubbed as the greatest player of his generation will become accustomed with the hand of God once more. 
And he leaves behind a legacy, that I dare say no individual in the game will ever match.