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Take an exclusive view inside the family album of late Argentina legend Diego Maradona

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247 News Around The World
247 News Around The World

Diego Maradona stands with his hands on his hips, the long-sleeved shirt bearing two long stripes tucked into his white shorts.

The striped shirt is not yet the colours of Argentina, the one in which he would lift the World Cup above his head as his team-mates hauled their hero to the skies, to move him even closer to the gods.

He’s only a boy. A block of hair on top of a head that bears the face of innocence. Maradona is bearing the shirt of Los Cebollitas, or The Little Onions, the youth team of Argentinos Juniors, the sports club based in La Paternal, Buenos Aires. 

Long before his Argentina days, Diego Maradona represented Argentinos Juniors, the sports club in La Paternal, Buenos Aires

Long before his Argentina days, Diego Maradona represented Argentinos Juniors, the sports club in La Paternal, Buenos Aires

Long before his Argentina days, Diego Maradona represented Argentinos Juniors, the sports club in La Paternal, Buenos Aires

The Mail on Sunday has been given exclusive access to the Maradona family album and can reveal unseen snaps of the legend

The Mail on Sunday has been given exclusive access to the Maradona family album and can reveal unseen snaps of the legend

The Mail on Sunday has been given exclusive access to the Maradona family album and can reveal unseen snaps of the legend

He was not yet Maradona, the superstar known by one name alone, a blurred haze of greatness and drug-fuelled chaos, but just little Diego. The boy who who would be king.

Even then he possessed a force that pulled others toward him, the spark of genius out of which the player many believe the greatest ever to play the game would form.

‘The first day there was three of us watching,’ recounts Rodolfo Fernandez, an Argentinos Juniors fan. ‘The second day ten, the third day twenty. All the watch this boy and how he played.’

In November last year, it had become thousands who flocked to the streets of Buenos Aires, this time to mourn the death of Maradona aged 60. They shed tears, cried out, lay flowers and lit candles. 

The boy born and raised in a shanty town outside Buenos Aires became the superstar of Naples and a huge name worldwide

The boy born and raised in a shanty town outside Buenos Aires became the superstar of Naples and a huge name worldwide

The boy born and raised in a shanty town outside Buenos Aires became the superstar of Naples and a huge name worldwide

Napoli have now renamed their stadium after the man who transformed their fortunes and was known for living the high life

Napoli have now renamed their stadium after the man who transformed their fortunes and was known for living the high life

Napoli have now renamed their stadium after the man who transformed their fortunes and was known for living the high life

His image adorned the front pages of newspapers across the world, all of them packed with tributes. At Napoli, they renamed the stadium after him, to honour the man who brought the club such frenzied success and gave their run-down city an idol.

And in a new book released next month, Maradona’s life will be celebrated once more. The Mail on Sunday has been given exclusive access to the Maradona family photo album and can reveal previously unseen pictures.

From his childhood days as a Little Onion to become the superstar who many believe the greatest of his time and everything that came in between: the success, the adoration, the charisma, the drugs and the chaos. All intertwined, all playing their part. Could any have lived without the other? 

Charismatic genius Maradona admitted that he wanted to be remembered both as a good father and as the best player ever

Charismatic genius Maradona admitted that he wanted to be remembered both as a good father and as the best player ever

Charismatic genius Maradona admitted that he wanted to be remembered both as a good father and as the best player ever

Right from the very beginning through all that went on during his turbulent life, every detail made Maradona the idol that he is

Right from the very beginning through all that went on during his turbulent life, every detail made Maradona the idol that he is

Right from the very beginning through all that went on during his turbulent life, every detail made Maradona the idol that he is

A boy born and raised in a shanty town outside Buenos Aires. The superstar of Naples, who lifted a downtrodden city mocked by its neighbours, to become kings of Italy, yet found himself trapped in the clutches of the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia.

The way he single-handedly, in more ways than one, took Argentina to the World Cup in 1986. It is a life and a career without equal.

‘A good father and the best player ever,’ is how Maradona said he wanted to be remembered. Many believe he is the greatest. 

The precocious young talent would become the driving force behind Argentina's finest hour as they won the 1986 World Cup

The precocious young talent would become the driving force behind Argentina's finest hour as they won the 1986 World Cup

The precocious young talent would become the driving force behind Argentina’s finest hour as they won the 1986 World Cup

Maradona did not shy away from speaking about his drug addiction and said that millions of dollars were spent on substances

Maradona did not shy away from speaking about his drug addiction and said that millions of dollars were spent on substances

Maradona did not shy away from speaking about his drug addiction and said that millions of dollars were spent on substances

Others say Pele. The younger fans are likely to plump for Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo. ‘I think that today I’d be worth a lot of money.’

There were no gripes from Maradona that he were not in an era where the superstars became super rich. ‘Everyone says to me that I should have been born in this current era, but I say ‘but then I would have missed out on the other one!’

‘And I was happy. I don’t want to be in Cristiano Ronaldo’s era and Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t be in mine.’ 

The controversial striker confessed that he regretted missing out on many precious years spent with his daughters and family

The controversial striker confessed that he regretted missing out on many precious years spent with his daughters and family

The controversial striker confessed that he regretted missing out on many precious years spent with his daughters and family

The flamboyant Maradona described himself as a kid from the streets and always yearned to be known as a man of the people

The flamboyant Maradona described himself as a kid from the streets and always yearned to be known as a man of the people

The flamboyant Maradona described himself as a kid from the streets and always yearned to be known as a man of the people

Argentina went into mourning when Maradona passed at the age of 60 in November following heart failure and complications

Argentina went into mourning when Maradona passed at the age of 60 in November following heart failure and complications

Argentina went into mourning when Maradona passed at the age of 60 in November following heart failure and complications

As good as he was, Maradona thought he could have been even better.

‘What a great player I could have been if I’d taken care of myself!’ he says in an interview in the new book ‘The Maradona Opus’. ‘If I’d looked after myself I would have been ten times the player Pele was! There would have been no comparison. I would have had Pele in my pocket if I’d taken care of myself!’

But would he have been Maradona if he had? It’s now all part of his legacy. And still the people adore him, the light as well as the dark. In life and now in death.

‘I’m a kid from the potrero, the streets,’ said Maradona. ‘My popularity will never decrease because I come from the people. I am one of them.’ 

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

The post Take an exclusive view inside the family album of late Argentina legend Diego Maradona appeared first on 247 News Around The World.

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