Diego Armando Maradona
(born October 30, 1960), is a former Argentine football player. He is regarded
by many as the greatest footballer of all time;
as well as one of the most controversial.
Diego Armando Maradona was born in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown in the
southern outskirts of Buenos Aires, to a poor family who had relocated from
Corrientes Province. He was the first son after three girls. He has two younger
brothers, Hugo (el turco) and Eduardo (Lalo), both of whom were also
At age 10, Maradona was spotted by a talent scout while he was playing in his
neighborhood club Estrella Roja. He became a staple of the cebollitas,
the junior team of Buenos Aires side Argentinos Juniors. As a ball-boy in first
division games, he amused spectators by showing his wizardry with the ball
during the halftime intermissions.
Diego Maradona <<Video
Click on pics to see more
At age 15, Maradona made his debut with Argentinos Juniors, where he played
between 1976 and 1981 before his transfer to the club that he supported, Boca
Juniors, where he played during the remainder of the 1981 season and 1982 and
secured his first league title. He debuted with the Argentina national football
team ("la selección"), at age 16, against Hungary. At age 18, he played the
Football World Youth Championship for Argentina, and was the star of the
tournament, shining in their 3–1 final win over the USSR team.
Comment "He's my favourite soccer player of all time, I think Maradona is the best because what is has done in Italy and Argentina, we have to remember Napoli wasn't a good club when he went there....."
Have your say
In 1982, Maradona played his first World Cup tournament. In the first round,
Argentina, as defending champions, lost to Belgium 0-1. Although the team
convincingly beat Hungary and El Salvador to progress to the second round, they
were defeated in the second round by Italy (1:2), the side which eventually won
the cup, and Brazil (1:3), during which game Maradona was sent off for kicking
Later in the year, Maradona was transferred to FC Barcelona. In 1983, under
coach César Luis Menotti, Barcelona and Maradona won the Copa del Rey (Spain's
annual national cup competition), beating Real Madrid. However, Maradona had an
unhappy tenure in Barcelona: first a bout with hepatitis, and then an ill-timed
tackle by Athletic Bilbao's Andoni Goikoetxea that put Maradona's career on the
line; Maradona's physical strength and willpower made it possible for him to be
back on the pitch after only 14 weeks. It is said that while playing for
Barcelona, Maradona was introduced to cocaine, to which he would become
Barcelona's management was not satisfied with Maradona, and in 1984
transferred him to SSC Napoli, where he became an adored star, lifting the team
to its most successful era. Napoli won their only Italian Championships (1986/87
and 1989/1990), a Coppa Italia (1987), a UEFA Cup (1989) and an Italian Supercup
(1990). Napoli were also runners-up in the Italian Championship twice (1987/88
Diego Maradona playing for Argentinos Juniors in 1980
Maradona led the Argentine national team to victory in the 1986 FIFA World
Cup, the team winning 3–2 in the final against West Germany. Throughout the 1986
World Cup, Maradona asserted his dominance and was widely regarded as the best
player of the tournament. However, it was the two goals he scored in the
quarter-final game against England which cemented his legend. Action replay
footage showed that the first goal was scored with the aid of his hand. He later
claimed it was the "Hand of God" and described it as "a little with the head of
Maradona and a little with the hand of God," implying that God was ultimately
responsible for the goal, because the referee had missed the handball offense.
However, on 22 August 2005 Maradona acknowledged on his television show that he
hit the ball with his hand purposely and that he immediately knew the goal was
illegitimate. He recalled thinking right after the goal that "I was waiting for
my teammates to embrace me, and no one came . . . I told them, 'Come hug me, or
the referee isn't going to allow it.'"
Maradona is still a hated figure in England, and the incident is often
mentioned in connection with Maradona the world over. In 1988 Maradona was
invited to play in an invitational game at London's Wembley Stadium. The game
was to celebrate the centenary of the English Football League. Maradona was part
of the 'Rest of the World XI' playing against the English League XI. Each time
that Maradona touched the ball he was subject to angry chants and boos from the
crowd and threats were made against his personal safety while he was in England.
In contrast, however, Maradona's second goal in the England game was a simply
astonishing display of footballing skill. He ran half the length of the pitch,
passing five English players (Glenn Hoddle, Peter Reid, Kenny Sansom, Terry
Butcher, and Terry Fenwick) as well as goalkeeper Peter Shilton. This goal was
voted Goal of the Century in a 2002 online poll conducted by FIFA. Argentina
went on to defeat England 2-1 in that game, knocking them out of the tournament.
The two goals were ranked 6th in the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments in 2002 by
the UK's Channel 4 television channel.
He followed this with two other noted goals in the semi-final against
Belgium. In the final the opposing German side attempted to subdue him by
double-marking but he nevertheless found the space to lay on the winning goal
for Jorge Burruchaga.
Maradona also captained Argentina in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, leading his
team to the final, where they lost 1–0 to West Germany. He arrived at the 1994
FIFA World Cup and played two games (scoring one goal) before being sent home
after failing a drug test for ephedrine doping. On this matter, he has suggested
that he had an agreement, on which FIFA later reneged, to allow him to use the
drug for weight loss before the competition in order to be able to play, so that
the World Cup would not lose prestige because of his absence. This allegation
was never proved, and many attribute his comment ("they cut off my legs") to
Maradona's anger at being suspended.
In Naples Maradona transformed the local club, SSC Napoli. Traditionally they
had been overshadowed by the teams from the industrial cities in the north, but
Maradona's arrival (along with Careca and others) brought them a first scudetto
in 1987, followed by a second in 1990, and cup successes. However, he also faced
a scandal there regarding an illegitimate son and was the object of some
suspicion over his friendship with the Camorra, the local mafia.
Maradona left Napoli in 1992, after serving a 15-month ban for failing the
drug test for cocaine, and played for Sevilla FC (1992–93), Newell's Old Boys
(1993) and Boca Juniors (1995–97). He also attempted to work as a coach on two
short stints, leading Mandiyú of Corrientes (1994) and Racing Club (1995)
without much success. He retired from football on October 30, 1997.
Short and stocky, Maradona had a very strong physique and could withstand
physical pressure better than almost all players. His strong legs and low center
of gravity gave him additional advantage in short sprints. This is illustrated
by his two goals against Belgium in the 1986 World Cup.
He was also a wizard with the ball and could manage himself in limited
spaces, attracting defenders only to quickly dash out of the melee (as in the
second goal against England), or pass to a free teammate who would take the ball
and score, like Burruchaga did to secure the 1986 World Cup.
Maradona could convert fragile possessions into goals. His goal against Italy
in the 1986 World Cup demonstrated this. In Maradona's time defenses became more
athletic, so both dribbling and securing possession of the ball.
One of Maradona's trademark moves was dribbling full-speed as a left wing,
and on reaching the opponent's goal line, delivering accurate passes to his
teammates that many times proved lethal. Another trademark was the Rabona
or reverse-cross pass (shot behind the leg that holds all the weight), with
which he provided several assists, such as the powerful cross for Ramón Díaz's
header in the 1984 friendly against Switzerland.
Maradona's kicking had a mixture of precision and power that enabled him to
score many free kicks. Since he seldom used his right foot for any decisive
action, defenders were confounded the few times he did.
Retirement and honours
In 2000, Maradona published his autobiography Yo Soy El Diego ("I am
The Diego"), which became an instant bestseller in his home country.
In the same year, FIFA conducted an poll on the Internet, to find the Player of the Century. Maradona, with 53.6% of the votes, was a clear
winner. Then, in a previously unannounced move, FIFA appointed a "Football
Family" committee, which voted to elect Pelé to the title. Two awards were made,
one to each of the pair: Maradona accepted his prize, but left the awards
ceremony without waiting to see Pelé receive his accolade.
In 2001, the Argentine Football Association asked FIFA for authorization to
retire the jersey number 10 as an homage to Maradona. FIFA did not grant the
request, even though Argentine officials have maintained that FIFA hinted that
Maradona has won other polls, including a 2002 FIFA poll in which his second
goal against England was chosen as the best goal ever scored in a World Cup; he
also won the most votes in a poll to determine the All-Time Ultimate World Cup
On 22 June 2005, it was announced that Maradona would return to Boca Juniors
as a sports vice president in charge of managing the First Division roster
(after a disappointing 2004–05 season, which coincided with Boca's centenary)
. His contract began 1 August 2005, and
one of his first recommendations proved to be very effective: he was the one who
decided to hire Alfio Basile as the new coach. With Maradona staying very close
to the players, Boca went on to win the 2005 Apertura title, the 2006 Clausura
title, the 2005 Copa Sudamericana and the 2005 Recopa Sudamericana. As of 2006,
Maradona remains aloof of day-to-day activities and is seen mostly on game days,
cheering from his private box in the Bombonera.
On 15 August 2005, Maradona made his debut as host of a talk-variety show on
Argentine television, La Noche del 10 ("The Night of the no. 10"). His
main guest on opening night was Pelé; the two had a friendly chat, showing no
signs of past differences. In subsequent evenings, he led the ratings on all
occasions but one. Most guests were drawn from the worlds of football and show
business, including Zidane, Ronaldo and Hernan Crespo, but also included interviews with other notable persons such
as Fidel Castro and Mike Tyson.
Jorge Cyterszpiller, a childhood friend, was Maradona's first agent. He set
up Maradona Producciones but did not score any major successes with
merchandising, as counterfeiters would quickly imitate any product that came on
the market. On his advice, Maradona started charging for interviews, a move that
generated some controversy.
After breaking up with Cyterszpiller, Maradona hooked up with Guillermo
Coppola, a bank employee who had started representing players as a hobby and was
already a major agent in the mid-1980s. Coppola oversaw the biggest contracts of
Maradona's career, but also was involved in the drug scandals of the early
1990s. Maradona and Coppola parted ways acrimoniously, and they still refer to
the end of their relations as an "open wound".
Maradona married long-time fiancée Claudia Villafañe on November 7, 1989 in
Buenos Aires, after the birth of their daughters, Dalma Nerea (b. 1987) and
Giannina Dinorah (b. 1989). In his autobiography, Maradona admits he was not
always faithful to Claudia, even though he refers to her as the love of his
Maradona and Villafañe divorced in 2004. Daughter Dalma has since asserted
that the divorce was the best solution for all, as her parents remained on
friendly terms. They traveled together to Napoli for a series of homages in June
2005 and were seen together on many
other occasions, including the Argentina matches during 2006 FIFA World Cup.
During the divorce proceedings, Maradona admitted he was the father of Diego
Sinagra (b. Naples, 1986), as was claimed by the youth's mother Cristiana
Sinagra. (The Italian courts had so ruled in 1993, after Maradona refused to
undergo DNA tests for proving or disproving his paternity.) Diego Jr. met
Maradona for the first time in May 2003 after tricking his way onto a golf
course in Naples where Maradona was playing.
After the divorce, Claudia embarked on a career as a theater producer, and
Dalma is seeking an acting career; she has expressed her desire to attend the
Actor's Studio in Los Angeles.
After the 1986 'hand of God' incident, where Maradona used his left-hand to
punch the ball into the English net, rumours suggested that he was left-handed,
when in fact, Maradona is right-handed.
In marked contrast to the athleticism he showed during his years as a
football player, Maradona has had a series of health problems since retirement.
Since the 1990s, Maradona has been battling a cocaine addiction, which
included spells in Swiss and Cuban detox clinics. Between 2002 and 2005,
Maradona spent most of his time in Cuba.
On April 18, 2004, doctors reported that Maradona had suffered a major heart
attack following a cocaine overdose; he was admitted to intensive care in a
Buenos Aires hospital. Scores of fans gathered around the clinic. Days after the
heart attack, a nurse was caught taking photos of Maradona with a mobile phone
and was promptly fired by the hospital managers.
After he showed improvement, Maradona was taken off the respirator on April
23 and remained in intensive care for several days before being discharged on
April 29. He returned to Cuba in May.
Maradona has always had a tendency to put on weight, and suffered
increasingly with obesity from the end of his playing career until undergoing
gastric bypass surgery in a clinic in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia on March 6,
2005. When Maradona resumed public appearances shortly thereafter, he displayed
a notably thinner figure.
During the nineties, Maradona supported the presidency of neoliberal Carlos
Menem in Argentina. In more recent years, however, Maradona has shown sympathy
to left-wing ideologies. He became friends with Fidel Castro while in treatment
in Cuba. He has a portrait of Castro tattooed on his left leg and one of Ernesto
Che Guevara on his right arm.
He has declared his opposition to imperialism, notably during the 2005 Summit of
the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina. There he protested George W. Bush's
presence in Argentina, wearing a Stop Bush T-shirt and referring to Bush
as "human garbage".
Ever since 1986, it is common for Argentines abroad to hear Maradona's name
as a token of recognition, even in remote places. In Argentina, Maradona is
often talked about in terms reserved for legends. In the Argentine film El
Hijo de la Novia ("The bride's son"), an actor who plays a fake Catholic
priest says to a bar patron: "they idolized him and then crucified him". When
scolded by a friend for taking the prank too far, the fake priest retorts: "But
I was talking about Maradona".
In Buenos Aires, fans organized the "Church of Maradona." Maradona's 43rd
birthday in 2003 marked the start of the Year 43 D.D. - "despues de Diego" or
After Diego - for its founding 200 members. Tens of thousands more have become
members via the church's official web site.
Hounded for years by the press, Maradona even fired a compressed-air rifle
against reporters who, so he claimed, invaded his privacy. This quote from
former teammate Jorge Valdano summarizes the feelings of many:
A columnist for the sports daily Olé welcomed Maradona's hosting a TV
show in 2005, noting that "for the first time, he seems to have found his place
in the world outside the football pitch".
A controversial television commercial for Brazilian soft drink Guaraná
Antarctica portrayed Maradona as a member of the Brazilian national football
team, including wearing the yellow jersey and singing the Brazilian national
anthem with Brazilian caps Kaka and Ronaldo. He wakes up crying that it was a
In May 2006, Maradona agreed to take part in UK's Soccer Aid (a program to
raise money for Unicef). Maradona showed his skill with the ball and even scored
a penalty. After the program was
aired, it was made public that Maradona received 10 times more money than most
of the other participants.
- 1977–1994 Argentina (91 appearances, 34 goals)
- 21 appearances in four FIFA World Cup Championships (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994)
- Argentina second-highest goal-scorer (held the record until surpassed by
- 1981 Argentine league (Boca Juniors)
- 1983 Copa del Rey (FC Barcelona)
- 1987 Italian league (SSC Napoli)
- 1987 Italian Cup (SSC Napoli)
- 1988 Italian top-scorer (SSC Napoli)
- 1989 UEFA Cup (SSC Napoli)
- 1990 Italian league (SSC Napoli)
- 1991 Italian Super Cup (SSC Napoli)
- 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship: Winner
- 1982 FIFA World Cup: Second round (11th place)
- 1986 FIFA World Cup: Winner
- 1990 FIFA World Cup: Runner-up
- 1993 Copa Artemio Franchi
- 1994 FIFA World Cup: Second round (10th place)
- 1994 Mandiyú de Corrientes
- 1995 Racing Club de Avellaneda
- 1979–1981, 1986 Argentine Football Writers' Footballer of the Year
- 1979, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1992 South American Footballer of the Year (El Mundo,
- 1986 Argentine Sports Writers' Sportsman of the Year
- 1986 Golden Ball for Best Player of the FIFA World Cup
- 1986 European Footballer of the Year (France Football)
- 1986–1987 Best Footballer in the World (Once)
- 1986 World Player of the Year (World Soccer Magazine)
- 1996 Golden Ball for services to football (France Football)
- 1999 Argentine Sports Writers' Sportsman of the Century
- 2000 "FIFA best football player of the century", people's choice.
- 2002 "FIFA Goal of the Century" (1986 (2–1) v. England; second goal)
- 2005 Argentine Senate "Domingo Faustino Sarmiento" recognition for
Footballer of the Year
|Player of the Year
|FIFA World Cup
He's my favourite soccer player of all time, I think Maradona is
the best because what is has done in Italy and Argentina, we
have to remember Napoli wasn't a good club when he went there he
gave this history, he won the world cup in 86, no one can do
what Maradona did, ronaldo, messi, ronaldinho, ronaldo from
brazil, zidan, pele they all played with good teams, if they
played with the teams maradona played for, they wouldn't have
won anything, that's why he's the greatest soccer player of all
I never saw him play but according the writers, HE is the best
of the best, God given talent, A winner in his heart, A fighter
for his country.
Why did we (the world) give Pele the honour, why, it was not
suppose to be shared, NO! Diego did right>
Thanks Diego, no one have proved himself like you
i think Maradonais the best because what is has done in Italy,
we have to remember napoli wasn't a good club when he went there
he give this history
he was the best player of the world
He is the best
Maradonaaaaaaaaaaa is da best!!!
greatest footballer ever
Maradona is the one and only!! - He is a genie!! He is the
best, think of his goals against England in 1986!!
Maradona is my god i worship him. you are the best, i will do
anything for maradona.
DIEGO WAS THE CHOSEN ONE. TALKING FOOTBALL IS TALKING MARADONA.
he was simply the most genius player of soccer
The Best Player Of The World