Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona is a legend in the history of football. He is considered one of the greatest footballers alongside Brazilian legend, Pele. Nicknamed “El Pibe de Oro (The Golden Kid”), he led Argentina to World Cup glory in the 1986 World Cup. Football fans will never forget his legendary goals against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals, one of which goals is dubbed as the “Hand of God”. At the club level, he started his football career at Argentinos Juniors and is well known for his time at Barcelona and Napoli, where he won numerous accolades. He also played for Boca Juniors, Sevilla, and Newell’s Old Boys.

His professional career was affected by several controversies, most by his cocaine addiction. He was even banned from football for 15 months. He later failed to revive his influence on the ground. He retired from international football with 34 goals and retired from professional football with 312 club goals. He scored 354 goals for club and country before retirement. After retirement, he pursued a managerial career. He managed several clubs as well as Argentina’s national football team.

Tragically, the legendary footballer Maradona died of a heart attack on 25 November 2020. Below is the detailed introduction to Maradona’s life story: early life, career, addiction, stats, records, awards, achievements, health issues, death, personal life etc.

What did Diego Maradona achieve fame for?

He is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Argentina has won two World Cups.

Won a number of club and individual awards.

Diego Maradona was born in Argentina.

Diego Maradona was born on October 30, 1960, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Diego Armando Maradona is his birth name. His hometown is Lanus, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was an Argentine citizen. He came from a poor background. Villa Fiorito, a shantytown on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, is his birthplace. Diego Maradona “Chitoro” Sr was his father, and Dalma Salvadora Franco ‘Dona Tota’ was his mother. Hugo and Raul were his younger brothers.

Diego Maradona’s Professional Career

Diego Maradona began his football career at a young age. At the age of eight, he was discovered by a talent scout while playing in his neighborhood club, Estrella Roja. He soon became a favorite of the Argentinos Juniors junior team in Buenos Aires. He was inspired by Brazilian Rivelino and Irish George Best as a boy.

On October 20, 1976, Maradona made his professional debut for Argentinos Juniors, making him the youngest player in the history of the Argentine Primera Division. On November 14, 1976, he made his Primera Division debut against Marplatense.

From 1976 to 1981, he was a member of the club for five years. He scored 115 goals in 167 games for the club during his time there.

After receiving tempting offers from a number of top South American clubs, he decided to join Boca Juniors. On February 20, 1981, he signed a $4 million contract with the club. He only stayed at the club for one season, scoring 28 goals in 40 appearances to help the club win the league championship.

After the 1982 World Cup, he joined Barcelona for a then-world-record fee of $7.6 million. In 58 appearances across all competitions during his two seasons with Barcelona, he scored 38 goals. In 1983, he helped the club win the Copa del Rey, the Copa de la Liga, and the Supercopa de Espana.

However, Maradona’s time at Barcelona came to an end when he was involved in a violent altercation with opposing players during the club’s Copa del Rey final match against Athletic Bilbao in 1984. Maradona was enraged by a rough tackle on him by an opponent player, which sparked the brawl. The altercation involved all of the players. Opponent players were headbutted, elbowed, punched, kneed, and kicked by Maradona. Over 60 people were injured when fans in the crowd hurled items onto the field. The incident resulted in Maradona’s departure from the club.

When Maradona joined the Italian team Napoli in 1984, he had more success at the club level. He had paid a then-world-record fee of $10.48 million to join the club. He won two Serie A cups, one Coppa Italia, one UEFA Cup, and one Supercoppa Italiana during his seven years with the club. In 259 appearances for Napoli in all competitions, he scored 115 goals.

His time in Napoli, however, was not without controversy. At the moment, his personal issues were getting worse.

He continued to misuse substances, which caused him to miss games and training. He also had to deal with the embarrassment of having an illegitimate son. He was said to be acquainted with the Camorra as well. He received a 15-month suspension after failing a cocaine drug test, and he left Napoli in disgrace in 1992.

In 1992, Maradona returned to La Liga and joined Sevilla. He scored 8 goals in all competitions for the club.
During his short stint at Newell’s Old Boys, he did not score any goals.

In 1995, he returned to his former club, Boca Juniors. Following his return to the club, he scored seven goals.

In 588 appearances across all competitions, he scored 312 goals for his side.

International Career of Diego Maradona

In Argentine football history, Maradona was a pivotal figure. In 1979, he assisted Argentina in winning the FIFA World Youth Championship. On June 2, 1979, he scored his senior international goal against Scotland. Later in his career, he represented Argentina in the 1979 Copa America, 1982 World Cup, 1986 World Cup, 1990 World Cup, and 1994 World Cup. In 1986, he led Argentina to World Cup victory.

His first goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal match became one of the most famous goals in football history, as he scored with his side. The “Hand of God” was the name given to this target. He scored his second goal of the game when dribbling past five English players from inside his own half. In a FIFA online poll conducted in 2002, the goal was voted “Goal of the Century.” He was instrumental in Argentina’s Artemio Franchi Trophy victory in 1993.

During the 1994 World Cup, he failed a drug test for ephedrine doping and was sent home. After the drug test, his international career came to an end.

Managerial Career of Diego Maradona

Maradona’s managerial career started in 1994. He managed Corrientes in 1994 and Racing Club in 1995. He was named the head coach of the Argentina national team in October 2008. His managerial career with the national team was not fruitful. He had won his first matches as a manager but suffered the worst loss in Argentine history with a 6-1 defeat to Bolivia. He was given a 2-month ban by FIFA after using abusive language at the live post-game press conference during the 2010 World Cup. Argentina later decided not to renew his contract.

He became manager of Dubai club, Al Wash FC in May 2011. He was sacked in July 2012. He then became the assistant coach of the Argentine club Deportivo Riestra in August 2013. He stepped down from his role in 2017 to become the head coach of the UAE second division club, Fujairah. He failed to lead the club to secure a promotion and left the club at the end of the season. He became head coach of the Mexican second division club, Dorados in September 2018. He stepped down from his role after the club failed to secure promotion to the top flight. He became the manager of the Gimnasia de La Plata in September 2019. He had a contract with the club through the 2020-21 season.

Maradona Individual Honors

  • Argentine Primera División top scorers: 1978 Metropolitano, 1979 Metropolitano, 1979 Nacional, 1980 Metropolitano, 1980 Nacional
  • FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Ball: 1979
  • FIFA World Youth Championship Silver Shoe: 1979
  • Argentine Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1986
  • South American Footballer of the Year: (official award) 1979, 1980
  • Olimpia de Oro: 1979, 1986
  • Guerin d’Oro (Serie A Footballer of the Year): 1985
  • UNICEF European Footballer of the Season: 1989–90
  • FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 1986
  • FIFA World Cup Silver Shoe: 1986
  • FIFA World Cup Most Assists: 1986
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1986, 1990
  • Onze d’Or: 1986, 1987
  • L’Équipe Champion of Champions: 1986
  • United Press International Athlete of the Year Award: 1986
  • World Soccer magazine’s Player of the Year: 1986
  • Capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer): 1987–88
  • Coppa Italia top scorer: 1987–88
  • FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball: 1990
  • FIFA World Cup All-Time Team: 1994
  • South American Team of the Year: 1995
  • Ballon d’Or for services to football (France Football): 1995
  • World Team of the 20th Century: 1998
  • World Soccer magazine’s Greatest Players of the 20th century: (#2) 1999
  • Argentine Sports Writers’ Sportsman of the Century: 1999
  • Marca Leyenda: 1999
  • Number 10 retired by Napoli football team as a recognition to his contribution to the club: 2000
  • FIFA Player of the Century: 2000
  • FIFA Goal of the Century (for his second goal against England in 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-final): 2002
  • FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2002
  • Golden Foot: 2003, as football legend
  • FIFA 100 Greatest Living Players: 2004
  • Argentine Senate “Domingo Faustino Sarmiento” recognition for lifetime achievement: 2005
  • Greatest Footballers in World Cup History: No. 1, by The Times, 2010
  • Best Athlete in History: No. 1, by Corriere dello Sport – Stadio, 2012
  • Globe Soccer Awards Player Career Award: 2012
  • World Soccer magazine’s Greatest XI of all time: 2013
  • Greatest Football Players of All-Time: No. 1 by FourFourTwo magazine, 2017
  • Greatest Football Players in World Cup History: No. 1, by FourFourTwo magazine, 2018
  • Napoli all-time Top Scorer (1991–2017)
  • Italian Football Hall of Fame: 2014
  • AFA Team of All Time: 2015
  • L’Équipe’s top 50 South-American footballers in history: #2
  • International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) Legends

Diego Maradona Wife and Children

Diego Maradona married Claudia Villafane on 7 November 1984. The couple shared two daughters, Dalma Nerea and Gianinna Dinorah. The couple divorced in 2004. He admitted that he is the father of Diego Sinagra during his divorce proceedings. He had refused to undergo DNA tests in 1993. He met his son, Diego for the first time in 2003. He also has two more children, Diego Fernando and Jana from his other relationships. He was engaged to Rocio Oliva from 2014 to 2018.

How did Maradona die?

The legendary footballer Diego Maradona left the world on 25 November 2020. He died of a heart attack at his home in Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He died at the age of 60. He was admitted to a hospital for psychological reasons on 2 November 2020. He had undergone emergency brain surgery to treat a subdural hematoma. He was released after successful surgery. He was previously claimed to be dead three times within a month in April 2007.

How much is Maradona worth?

Diego Maradona was one of the highest-earning footballers of his time. He set a transfer-record when he joined Barcelona for $7.6 million. He set another transfer record when he joined Napoli for $10.48 million. He had endorsement deals with several companies including Puma and Coca-Cola. He earned an additional $1.5 million from his endorsements. He has appeared in several commercials and video games.

Following his retirement from professional football, he started a managerial career, that added some to his fortune. However, in March 2009, Italian officials announced that Maradona still owed the Italian government €37 million in local taxes, €23.5 million of which was accrued interest on his original debt.  in 2009, Italian police seized a pair of earrings worth £3,600 from Maradona in a bid to recover unpaid taxes from his time at Napoli. Three years prior to this, the police took two Rolex watches worth 10,000 euros. However, his net worth at the time of his death was reported at only $100,000.

Diego Maradona Height

Diego Maradona stood at a height of 1.65 m i.e. 5 feet and 5 inches tall. He had an average body build. He had a tendency to put on weight and suffered increasingly from obesity. He weighed 280 lbs at one point. He underwent gastric bypass surgery in March 2005. His eye color was dark brown and his hair color was black. His sexual orientation was straight.

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