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World soccer champion with the Argentina national team in 1986, player for Barcelona and then Naples, a former number 10, an exceptional soccer player, an unparalleled persona, and a self-destructive genius, Diego Maradona died on Wednesday at the age of 60. Blind pays tribute to El Pibe de Oro with several photographs of his exploits, all available as prints from the Jean-Denis Walter Gallery.

Diego Maradona’s Childhood Home

"Diego's roots", Diego Maradona's childhood home, Fiorito district, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1993
© Christopher Pillitz, courtesy of Galerie Jean-Denis Walter

Photographer Christopher Pillitz said: “In 1993, I was working on a long-term assignment on Buenos Aires for National Geographic. I was going to delve into the soul of the city. In the course of reporting, I visited Diego Maradona’s neighborhood to find his childhood home. And I did: the new inhabitants knew all about the former tenant. As did their kids.”

Photograph available here.

 

The Hand of God

"La mano de Dios", Quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup, Mexico
© Eduardo Longoni, courtesy of Galerie Jean-Denis Walter

In the quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup game between Argentina and England at the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City, Diego Maradona scored the first goal by using his hand. He declared that it was the Hand of God, turning his “mischief” into a myth. The two countries were at odds at that time, following the armed confrontation during the Falklands War. This was one soccer game with high political stakes.

Photograph available here.

 

The Goal of the Century

“La carrera del Pibe”, Quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup, Mexico © Eduardo Longoni, courtesy of the Jean-Denis Walter gallery

Moments after his controversial first goal, Diego Maradona made a mad dash to score the second Argentinian goal. His legendary shot is considered the greatest goal of all time. This image was taken by the photographer Eduardo Longoni just as Maradona had dribbled past the goalkeeper and was about to drive the ball into the net.

Photograph available here.

 

1986 World Cup Final

The Hands of God, 1986 World Cup Final, Argentina-Germany
© John Vink, courtesy of Galerie Jean-Denis Walter

On June 29, 1986, Argentina faced Germany in the World Cup finale. Diego Maradona raised his arms toward the stands at the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City: this pure, poetic image tells the story of a kid at the peak of his game and success.

The photographer John Vink wrote: “As a member of the agency Vu at the time, I was commissioned to cover this event by the daily newspaper Libération which had set up an entire editorial office in a house in Mexico City. I took few pictures of the games. My task was more to capture the ambiance and the general context. Every two or three days I drove through traffic jams to the airport to find a passenger willing to carry my (undeveloped) films to Roissy [in Paris] where a courier would be waiting to pick them up. All the films made it safely, and I discovered the photo editors’ choices a few days later.”

Photograph available here.

 

Diego Maradona raises the World Cup

“Diego en el cielo”, 1986 World Cup Final, Mexico City
© Eduardo Longoni, courtesy of Galerie Jean-Denis Walter

The ultimate photograph of the 1986 World Cup finale in Mexico. Diego, who had scored the last four Argentine goals in the previous games, had no freedom. He moved around like a luxury player, letting his teammates shine. Argentina won 3 to 2, and Maradona became a legend.

Photograph available here.

 

Naples: the people’s champ

Diego Maradona offers the title to Napoli, San Paolo Stadium in Naples, May 10, 1987
© Mark Leech, courtesy of Galerie Jean-Denis Walter

May 10, 1987. 4 p.m.: not a soul was stirring in Naples, the streets were empty. Even Vesuvius stood still: but across the bay, the San Paolo stadium was bursting at the seams. Two hours later, the referee’s final whistle set off the explosion of a long-awaited jubilation: Naples was crowned Italian champion for the first time in history. This was a vindication, not only for soccer, but also cultural and human. It was a victory of the “poor” South over the “rich” North. A victory that was like a spark igniting a once-in-a-lifetime celebration that spilled into the streets of a city that had held its breath for days.

Photograph available here.

 

Diego Maradona and the Argentinian jersey

Diego Maradona during a friendly match between
England and Argentina on May 13, 1980, in London
© Mark Leech, courtesy
of Galerie Jean-Denis Walter

Diego Maradona played for the clubs of Boca Juniors, Barcelona, and Naples, but never has he been so resplendent than with the jersey of the Argentine national team. This beautiful image by Mark Leech, with its beautiful light, immortalized him in 1980, almost for his debut with the team of his country. Maradona, a God for eternity.

Photograph available here.

To learn more, visit the Jean-Denis Walter Gallery, which specializes in sports photography.

www.jeandeniswalter.fr


 

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