Diego Armando Maradona was a former Argentine international football player who is considered by many to be one of the greatest ever footballlers. Some even say that he was the best footballer ever to be born and was awarded the FIFA Player of the Century jointly with the Brazilian legend Pele.
Diego Maradona was born in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires to a poor family. His footballing talent came to the fore from a very early period and was drafted into the junior ranks of Argentine club Argentinos Juniors when he was just 19 years of age. When he was 12 years of age, he used to entertain the crowd at half-time by his tricks.
Maradona made his senior debut for Argentinos Juniors when he was still only 15 years of age on October 20, 1976 and was signed by Boca Juniors in 1981 for 1 million pounds. Maradona grew to be a firm favourite at the club and still supports the club with his life.
Spanish and European giants FC Barcelona signed Maradona in the summer of 1982 for a then world record transfer fee of 5 million pounds. He had a short time at the Camp Nou and after a dispute with the club’s directors and the much publicized nightlife fiesta was transferred to Italian club Napoli for 6.9 million pounds.
Maradona became a folk hero at Napoli and led the Naples club to Italian Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990. He also won the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup and the Italian Supercup with Napoli. However, he was involved in several off pitch problems including drugs and allegations of fostering an illegitimate son.
Diego Maradona was sentenced to a 15-month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine and left Napoli in 1992. He moved back to Spain to play for Sevilla FC and then shipped himself back to Argentina, this time to play for Newell’s Old Boys and Boca Juniors. He retired from football on October 30, 1997, on his 37th birthday.
Maradona made his international debut for Argentina against Hungary when he was only 16 years of age. He led his nation to the World Youth Championships two years later.
Maradona played a good role in the 1992 World Cup finals but the competition ended in tears for him as Argentine were knocked out from the second round by Brazil. But four years later he played a star role at the 1986 World Cup finals and almost single-handedly led his nation to World Cup conquest.
It was during the 1986 World Cup that he scored two of the most memorable goals in football history. He scored both the goals against England in the semi-finals. The first goal was a deliberate hand ball, later dubbed as the “Hand of God” goal, and the second was an absolute beauty. He picked up the ball well inside his own half and after dribbling past almost effortless and certainly aesthetically five English players and the goalkeeper. This goal was voted the “Goal of the Century” in an online poll conducted by FIFA.