10 songs that pay tribute to the late Diego Maradona: 'We are in your hands'

The footballer's talents on the pitch inspired several artists throughout the years

FILE - In this June 29, 1986 file photo, Diego Maradona holds up his team's trophy after Argentina's 3-2 victory over West Germany at the World Cup final soccer match at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The Argentine soccer great who was among the best players ever and who led his country to the 1986 World Cup title before later struggling with cocaine use and obesity, died from a heart attack on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at his home in Buenos Aires. He was 60. (AP Photo/Carlo Fumagalli, File)

Following the death of Diego Maradona on Wednesday, sporting stars and politicians sang his praises on social media.

But while the great footballer was alive, a string of musicians and fans, from Argentina and Spain to Italy and beyond, recorded their own musical tributes to the diminutive striker.

From vibrant ska and Neapolitan folk to thumping stadium chants, these eclectic songs may come in different styles and languages, but they are universal in their love for a sporting hero who provided so much joy on the pitch.

Maradona may be gone, but these 10 tracks show he scored as much admiration off the field, too.

1. ‘La Mano de Dios’

This is arguably the best-known Maradona anthem.

Sung by the late Rodrigo Bueno, the title translates to "The Hand of God", in reference to the footballer's controversial 1986 Fifa World Cup goal. The piece is a sprightly folk and dance tune tracking Maradona's rise from humble beginnings in Argentina to stardom in the sporting world.

Maradona went on to make surprise appearances in clubs and sing the song himself, to dazzled crowds. “As a young buck I dreamed of the World Cup and rising to the top,” the song goes. “Perhaps by playing I could help my family.”

2.‘Marado’

Released in 1996 by popular Argentine group Los Piojos, the song begins with spoken word poetry announcing Maradona's skills and “his almost perfect dribble”, before the beats kick in and the track settles into a quirky ska groove.

The song's final lines extol Maradona's place in football history: “When the walls of this great town fall in pieces / When no longer remain in the air (nothing but) the ashes / what will be, will be ... and Diego is still the best in what he does.”

3. ‘La Vida Tombola'

Translated to "life is a ball", this track is a salute from one legend to another. Spanish singer Manu Chao captures the adventurism and joy of Maradona's playing style in this heartfelt number. "If I was Maradona, I'd live like him," Chao sings. "Because the world is a ball that has to be experienced to the fullest."

4. ‘O Mama Mama'

With Maradona spending his prime years with Italian football club Napoli, it is not surprising there are more than a dozen crowd anthems sung about the great man from the stands.

O Mama Mama has all the qualities of a cracking football chant: it is catchy, cheery and funny. " Oh, mama, mama, mama, do you know why heart is beating?" fans would sing. "I have seen Maradona. Oh, mama, I am in love."

5. ‘Maradona e Meglio 'e Pele’

This is another song that rang loud in Napoli's Sao Paolo stadium, which the city is considering renaming in honour of the late player. As well as being provocative in its assertion that Maradona is better than arch-rival Pele, the song, by Enzo Romani, also urges the Argentine to lift the spirits of the city. Talk about crowd pressure.

“Maradona, now that you are here, please erase all the shame about this city,” the lyrics state. “Maradona, you can't fail. For us you are brother, father and mother. Maradona, we are in your hands,"

6. ‘O Surdato 'nnammurato’

If it is good enough for Pavarotti, then it is good enough for Maradona. Napoli football fans used an old Neapolitan song, also sung by the late tenor, and replaced the object of affection in it with the star striker. The lyrics are suitably operatic: “Oh life, oh my life, oh heart of this heart,” the crowds would sing. “You have been my first love, the first and the last you’ll be for me.”

7. ‘Dale Diez’

An affectionate tribute by Argentine singer Julio Lacarra, this song captures the passion and joy that comes with seeing a sporting hero at his prime. Lacarra croons: "I dream for a long time to be the kid who screams your goal against the fence."

8. 'Diego Querido'

This is another song involving mothers taking their children to see the great man on the pitch. "Mum, I want," sings Willie Polvoron, “that Diego comes back (with us)."

9. 'Diego Armando Maradona'

Maradona's 1990 Fifa World Cup campaign may have not been his finest hour, but that didn't stop Paolo Petti from penning a tune that sounds like a news report from the match. "Asphyxiating markings, systematic doubling tricks to trap you," he sings. "And then the most unexpected play, and he undermined the defences and thrilled all those people."

10. 'Maradona' 

Maradona's ability was so indisputable that even a Brazilian song was penned in his honour. Composed by Mau Mau, the track is a mark of respect to one of the greatest who ever played the game. "Always respecting adversaries," he sings. "When he enters the field in that shirt, (he brings with him) his soul and heart."

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