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Diego Armando Maradona (born 30 October 1960 in Lanúsmarker, Buenos Airesmarker) is a former Argentinemarker football player, and current manager of the Argentine national team. He is considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time; he finished first in an internet vote for the FIFA Player of the Century award, and he shared the award with Pelé.

Over the course of his professional club career Maradona played for Argentinos Juniorsmarker, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Newell's Old Boys and Napoli, setting world-record contract fees. In his international career, playing for Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. He played in four FIFA World Cup tournaments, including the 1986 World Cup where he captained Argentina and led them to their victory over West Germany in the final, winning the Golden Ball award as the tournament's best player. In that same tournament's quarter-final round he scored two goals in a 2-1 victory over England that entered soccer history, though for two very different reasons. The first goal was an unpenalized handball known as the "Hand of God", while the second goal was a spectacular 60-metre weave through six England players, commonly referred to as "The Goal of the Century".

For various reasons, Maradona is considered one of the sport's most controversial and newsworthy figures. He was suspended from football for 15 months in 1991 after failing a doping test for cocaine in Italy, and he was sent home from the 1994 World Cup in the USA for using ephedrine.

After retiring from playing on his 37th birthday in 1997, he increasingly suffered ill health and weight gain, hardly helped by ongoing cocaine abuse. In 2005 a stomach stapling operation helped control his weight gain. After overcoming his cocaine addiction, he became a popular TV host in Argentinamarker.

His outspoken manners have sometimes put him at odds with journalists and sport executives. Although he had little previous managerial experience, he became head coach of the Argentina national football team in November 2008.

Early years

Diego Armando Maradona was born in Lanúsmarker, but raised in Villa Fioritomarker, a shantytown on the southern outskirts of Buenos Airesmarker, to a poor family that had moved from Corrientes Province. He was the first son after three daughters. He has two younger brothers, Hugo and Eduardo (Lalo), both of whom were also professional football players.

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 Los Cebollitas (The Little Onions), the junior team of Buenos Aires's Argentinos Juniorsmarker. As a 12-year-old ball boy, he amused spectators by showing his wizardry with the ball during the halftime intermissions of first division games.

Club career

Maradona playing for Boca Juniors during 1981
On 20 October 1976, Maradona made his professional debut with Argentinos Juniors, ten days before his sixteenth birthday. He played there between 1976 and 1981, before his £1m transfer to Boca Juniors. Joining the squad midway through the 1981 season, Maradona played through 1982, and secured his first league winners' medal. Whilst playing for Argentinos Juniors, English club Sheffield United put in a bid of £180,000 for his services but the bid was rejected.

After the 1982 World Cup, in June, Maradona was transferred to Barcelona in Spainmarker for a then world record £5m. In 1983, under coach César Luis Menotti, Barcelona and Maradona won the Copa del Rey (Spain's annual national cup competition), beating Real Madrid, and the Spanish Super Cup, beating Athletic de Bilbao. However, Maradona had a difficult tenure in Barcelona. First a bout with hepatitis, then a broken leg caused by an ill-timed tackle by Athletic Bilbao's Andoni Goikoetxea jeopardized his career, but Maradona's physical strength and willpower made it possible for him to soon be back on the pitch. At Barcelona, Maradona got into frequent disputes with the team's directors, especially club president Josep Lluís Núñez, culminating with a demand to be transferred out of Camp Noumarker in 1984. He was transferred to Napoli in Italy's Serie A for another record fee, £6.9m.

At Napolimarker, Maradona reached the peak of his professional career. He quickly became an adored star among the club's fans, and in his time there he elevated the team to the most successful era in its history. Led by Maradona, Napoli won their only Serie A Italian Championships in 1986/87 and 1989/1990, placing second in the league twice, in 1987/88 and 1988/89. Other honors during the Maradona era at Napoli included the Coppa Italia in 1987, (second place in the Coppa Italia in 1989), the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Italian Supercup in 1990. Maradona was the top scorer in Serie A in 1987/88.

However, during his time in Italy, Maradona's personal problems increased. His cocaine use continued, and he received US $70,000 in fines from his club for missing games and practices, ostensibly because of 'stress'. He faced a scandal there regarding an illegitimate son; and he was also the object of some suspicion over an alleged friendship with the Camorra.

After serving a 15-month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine, Maradona left Napoli in disgrace in 1992. By the time he joined his next team, Sevilla (1992-93), he had not played professional football for two years, and he would never again reach his previous heights. In 1993 he played for Newell's Old Boys and in 1995 he returned to Boca Juniors for 2 years.

Maradona also appeared for Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly match against Inter Milan, shortly before the 1986 world cup. The match was Ossie Ardiles' testimonial, who insisted his friend Maradona played, which Tottenham won 2-1. He played alongside Glenn Hoddle, who gave up his number ten shirt for the Argentine. Maradona would go on to dribble past Hoddle during his "goal of the century" against England in the world cup that year.

International career

Maradona made his full international debut for Argentina aged 16 in a game against Hungary on 27 February 1977
Along with his time at Napoli, international football is where Maradona found his fame. Playing for the Albicelestes of the Argentina national football team, he participated in four consecutive FIFA World Cup tournaments, leading Argentina to victory in 1986 and to second place in 1990.

He made his full international debut at age 16, against Hungarymarker on 27 February 1977. At age 18, he played the World Youth Championship for Argentina, and was the star of the tournament, shining in their 3–1 final win over the Soviet Union. On 2 June 1979, Maradona scored his first senior international goal in a 3–1 win against Scotland at Hampden Parkmarker.

1982 World Cup

Maradona played his first World Cup tournament in 1982. In the first round, Argentina, the defending champions, lost to Belgium. Although the team convincingly beat Hungary and El Salvador to progress to the second round, they were defeated in the second round by Brazil and by eventual winners Italy. Maradona played in all five matches without being substituted, scoring twice against Hungary, but was sent off with 5 minutes remaining in the game against Brazil for serious foul play.

1986 World Cup

Maradona captained the Argentine national team to victory in the 1986 FIFA World Cup, winning the final in Mexico against West Germany. Throughout the 1986 World Cup, Maradona asserted his dominance and was the most dynamic player of the tournament. He played every minute of every Argentina game, scored 5 goals and made 5 assists. However, it was the two goals he scored in a 2–1 quarter-final win against England which cemented his legend.

This particular match was played in the background of the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (of which England forms part) and emotions still were lingering in the air throughout the entire match. Replays showed that the first goal was scored by striking the ball with his hand. Maradona was coyly evasive, describing it as "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God." It became known as the "Hand of God," or "la mano de Dios." Ultimately, on 22 August 2005 Maradona later acknowledged on his television show that he had hit the ball with his hand purposely, and that he immediately knew the goal was illegitimate. However, the goal stood, much to the wrath of the England players.

Maradona's second goal was to be later voted by FIFA as the greatest goal in the history of the World Cup. He received the ball in his own half, swivelled around, and with 11 touches ran more than half the length of the field, dribbling past five English players: (Glenn Hoddle, Peter Reid, Kenny Sansom, Terry Butcher, and Terry Fenwick) and goalkeeper Peter Shilton. This goal was voted the Goal of the Century in a 2002 online poll conducted by FIFA.

Maradona followed this with two more goals in the semi-final against Belgium, including another virtuoso dribbling display for the second goal. In the final, the opposing West German side attempted to contain him by double-marking, but he nevertheless found the space to give the final pass to Jorge Burruchaga for the winning goal. Argentina beat West Germany 3–2 in front of 115,000 spectators at the Azteca Stadiummarker and Maradona lifted the World Cup trophy, ensuring that he would be remembered as one of the greatest names in football history. In a tribute to him, the Azteca Stadium authorities built a statue of him scoring the "goal of the century" and placed it at the entrance of the stadium.

1990 World Cup

Maradona and the Youth World Cup trophy in 1979
Maradona captained Argentina again in the 1990 FIFA World Cup. An ankle injury affected his overall performance, and he was much less dominant than four years earlier. Argentina were almost eliminated in the first round, only qualifying in third position from their group. In the round of 16 match against Brazil, Claudio Caniggia scored the only goal after being set up by Maradona.

In the quarter final, Argentina faced Yugoslavia, the match ending 0–0 after 120 minutes, and Argentina advancing on penalty kicks, despite Maradona missing one of the penalties in the shootout with a weak shot at the centre of the goal. The semifinal against the host nation Italy was also resolved on penalties after a 1–1 draw; this time, Maradona was successful with his effort, daringly placing the ball at the exact same spot as his missed penalty in the previous round. In the final, Argentina lost 1–0 to West Germany, the only goal being a penalty by Andreas Brehme in the 85th minute after a controversial foul on Rudi Völler.

1994 World Cup

At the 1994 FIFA World Cup Maradona played in only two games, scoring one goal against Greece, before being sent home after failing a drug test for ephedrine doping. In his autobiography, Maradona argued that the test result was due to his personal trainer giving him the power drink Rip Fuel. His claim was that the U.S. version, unlike the Argentine one, contained the chemical and that, having run out of his Argentinian dosage, his trainer unwittingly bought the U.S. formula. FIFA expelled him from USA '94 and Argentina were subsequently eliminated in the second round. Maradona has also separately claimed that he had an agreement with FIFA, on which the organization reneged, to allow him to use the drug for weight loss before the competition in order to be able to play. According to Maradona, this was so that the World Cup would not lose prestige because of his absence. This allegation has never been proven.

Playing style

Maradona had a compact physique and could withstand physical pressure well. His strong legs and low center of gravity gave him an advantage in short sprints. His physical strengths were illustrated by his two goals against Belgium in the 1986 World Cup. Maradona was a strategist and a team player, as well as highly technical with the ball. He could manage himself effectively in limited spaces, and would attract defenders only to quickly dash out of the melee (as in the second 1986 goal against England), or give an assist to a free teammate. Being short, but strong, he could hold the ball long enough with a defender on his back to wait for a teammate making a run or to find a gap for a quick shot.

One of Maradona's trademark moves was dribbling full-speed on the left wing, and on reaching the opponent's goal line, delivering lethally accurate passes to his teammates. Another trademark was the Rabona, a reverse-cross pass shot behind the leg that holds all the weight. This maneuver led to several assists, such as the powerful cross for Ramón Díaz's header in the 1980 friendly against Switzerland. He was also a dangerous free kick taker.

Retirement and honours

Hounded for years by the press, Maradona once fired a compressed-air rifle at reporters who he claimed were invading his privacy. This quote from former teammate Jorge Valdano summarizes the feelings of many:

In 2000, Maradona published his autobiography Yo Soy El Diego ("I am The Diego"), which became an instant bestseller in his home country. Two years later, Maradona donated the Cuban royalties of his book to "the Cubanmarker people and Fidel."

FIFAmarker conducted a fan poll on the Internet in 2000, to elect the Player of the Century. Maradona finished top of the poll with 53.6% of the vote. Subsequently, however, and contrary to the original announcement of how the award would be decided, FIFA appointed a "Football Family" committee of football experts that voted to award Pelé the title. Maradona protested at the change in procedure, and declared he would not attend the ceremony if Pelé replaced him. Eventually, two awards were made, one to each of the pair. Maradona accepted his prize, but left the ceremony without waiting to see Pelé receive his accolade.

Maradona at the Soccer Aid friendly match in 2006, after losing weight
In 2001, the Argentine Football Associationmarker (AFA) asked FIFA for authorization to retire the jersey number 10 for Maradona. FIFA did not grant the request, even though Argentine officials have maintained that FIFA hinted that it would.

Maradona has won other fan 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 Team.

Argentinos Juniorsmarker named its stadiummarker after Maradona on 26 December 2003.

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 fostering a close relationship with the players, Boca went on to win the 2005 Apertura title, the 2006 Clausura title, the 2005 Copa Sudamericana and the 2005 Recopa Sudamericana.

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. However, the show also included a cartoon villain with a clear physical resemblance to Pelé. 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 Hernán Crespo, but also included interviews with other notable personalities such as Fidel Castro and Mike Tyson.

On 26 August 2006, it was announced that Maradona was quitting his position in the club Boca Juniors because of disagreements with the AFA, who selected Basile to be the new coach of the Argentina National Football Team.

The award-winning Serbianmarker filmmaker Emir Kusturica made a documentary about Maradona's life, entitled Maradona.

In May 2006, Maradona agreed to take part in UK's Soccer Aid (a program to raise money for Unicef). In September 2006, Maradona, in his famous blue and white number 10, was the captain for Argentina in a three-day World Cup of Indoor Football tournament in Spain.

Also in 2006, Diego Maradona was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador of the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition, IIMSAM.

Managerial career

Club management

He attempted to work as a coach alongside former Argentinos Juniorsmarker midfield team mate Carlos Fren The pair lead Mandiyú of Corrientes (1994) and Racing Clubmarker (1995), but with little success.

International management

After the resignation of Argentina national football team coach Alfio Basile in 2008, Diego Maradona immediately proposed his candidacy for the vacant role. According to several press sources, his major challengers included Diego Simeone, Carlos Bianchi, Miguel Ángel Russo and Sergio Batista.

On October 29, 2008, AFA chairman Julio Grondona confirmed that Maradona would be the head coach of the national side from December 2008. On 19 November 2008, Diego Maradona managed Argentina for the first time when Argentina played against Scotland at Hampden Parkmarker in Glasgow which Argentina won 1-0. The city of Glasgow plays a significant part in Maradona's history as it was at Hampden Park in Glasgow that Maradona scored his first goal for Argentina in 1979.

After winning his first three matches in charge of the national team, he oversaw a 6-1 defeat to Bolivia, equalling the team's worst ever margin of defeat. With two matches remaining in the qualification tournament for the 2010 World Cup, Argentina was in fifth place and faced the possibility of failing to qualify, but victory in the last two matches secured qualification for the finals.

After qualification, Maradona used abusive language at the post-game press conference which was carried on live television, telling members of the media to "suck it". FIFA responded with a two month ban on all footballing activity, to finish on January 15 2010, and a CHF 25,000 fine, with a warning as to his future conduct. Argentina had one friendly match scheduled during the period of the ban, at home to the on December 15.

Personal life


His parents are Diego Maradona Snr and Dalma Salvadore Franco.
Maradona in 1981
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), by whom he became a grandfather in 2009. In his autobiography, Maradona admits he was not always faithful to Claudia, even though he refers to her as the love of his life.

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). The Italian courts had already 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 theatre producer, and Dalma is seeking an acting career; she has expressed her desire to attend the Actor's Studiomarker in Los Angelesmarker.

His younger daughter, Giannina, is now married to Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Agüero. His son Diego Sinagra is a soccer player in Italy

Drug abuse and health issues

From the mid-1980s until 2004 Diego Maradona was addicted to cocaine. He allegedly began using the drug in Barcelona in 1983. By the time he was playing for Napoli he had a regular addiction, which began to interfere with his ability to play football.

Over the years following his retirement his health seriously deteriorated. On January 4, 2000, while vacationing in Punta del Estemarker, Uruguaymarker, Maradona had to be rushed to the emergency room of a local clinic. In a press conference, doctors stated that it was detected heart muscle damage due to "an underlying health issue". It was later known that traces of cocaine were found in his blood and Maradona had to explain the circumstances to the police. After this he left Argentina and went to Cuba in order to follow a drug rehab plan.

Maradona had a tendency to put on weight, and suffered increasingly from obesity from the end of his playing career until undergoing gastric bypass surgery in a clinic in Cartagena de Indiasmarker, Colombiamarker on 6 March 2005. When Maradona resumed public appearances shortly thereafter, he displayed a notably thinner figure.

On 18 April 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. He was taken off the respirator on 23 April and remained in intensive care for several days before being discharged on 29 April. He tried to return to Cuba, where he had spent most of his time in the years leading up to the heart attack, but his family opposed, having filed a judicial petition to exercise his legal guardianship.

On 29 March 2007, Maradona was readmitted to a hospital in Buenos Aires. He was treated for hepatitis and effects of alcohol abuse, and was released on 11 April, but re-admitted two days later. In the following days there were constant rumors about his health, including three false claims of his death within a month. After transfer to a psychiatric clinic specialising in alcohol-related problems, he was discharged on May 7.

On 8 May 2007, Maradona appeared on Argentine television and stated that he had quit drinking and had not used drugs in two and a half years.

Political views

During the nineties, Diego Maradona supported the right wing and neoliberal presidency of Carlos Menem in Argentina. In more recent years, Maradona has shown more sympathy to left-wing ideologies. He became friends with Fidel Castro while in treatment in Cubamarker. He has a portrait of Castro tattooed on his left leg and one of Ernesto "Che" Guevara on his right arm.

Maradona is also a supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. In 2005 he visited Venezuela with the specific aim of meeting Chávez, who received him in Miraflores. After this meeting Maradona claimed that he had come with the aim of meeting a "great man" ("un grande" in Spanish) but he had met instead a gigantic man ("un gigante" in Spanish, meaning he was more than great).

"I believe in Chávez, I am Chavista. Everything Fidel does, everything Chávez does, for me is the best."

He has declared his opposition to imperialism, notably during the 2005 Summit of the Americas in Mar del Platamarker, Argentina. There he protested George W. Bush's presence in Argentina, wearing a T-shirt labeled "STOP BUSH" and referring to Bush as "human garbage".

In August 2007, Maradona went further, making an appearance on Chávez's weekly television show and saying: "I hate everything that comes from the United States. I hate it with all my strength."

In December 2007, Maradona presented a signed shirt with a message of support to the people of Iranmarker: it is to be displayed in the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' museum.

Financial problems

In March 2009 Italian officials announced that Maradona still owed the Italian government 37 million euros in taxes; 23.5 million euros of which was accrued interest on his original debt. They reported that thus far, Maradona has paid only 42,000 euros, two luxury watches and a set of earrings.

In popular culture

Religious display of Maradona in Naples
Ever since 1986, it is common for Argentines abroad to hear Maradona's name as a token of recognition, even in remote places. The Tartan Army sing a version of the Hokey Cokey in honour of the Hand of God goal against England. In Argentina, Maradona is often talked about in terms reserved for legends. In the Argentine film El Hijo de la Novia ("Son of the Bride"), somebody who impersonates a Catholic priest says to a bar patron: "they idolized him and then crucified him". When a friend scolds him for taking the prank too far, the fake priest retorts: "But I was talking about Maradona".

Maradona was included in many cameos in the Argentine comic book El Cazador de Aventuras. After the closing of it, the authors started a new short-lived comic book titled "El Die", using Maradona as the main character.

In Rosariomarker, Argentina, fans organized the "Church of Maradona." Maradona's 43rd birthday in 2003 marked the start of the Year 43 D.D. - "Después de Diego" or After Diego - for its founding 200 members. Tens of thousands more have become members via the church's official web site.

A 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 Kaká and Ronaldo. Later on in the commercial he wakes up realizing it was nightmare after having drunk too much of the Brazilian soft drink. This generated some controversy in the Argentine media after its release (although the commercial was not supposed to air on the Argentine market, fans could see it via internet). Maradona replied that he has no problem in wearing the Brazilian national squad jersey, but that he would refuse to wear the shirt of River Plate, Boca Juniors' traditional rival.

Career statistics


  • His overall average of goals scored per match in domestic club competitions is 0.526.


  • Started in 21 consecutive matches for Argentina in four World Cup (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994)
  • Appeared a World Cup-record 16 times as captain of the national team.
  • Scored 8 goals and made 8 assists in 21 World Cup appearances, including 5 goals and 5 assists in 1986
  • Tied for second-highest goal-scorer from Argentina in World Cup finals (equaled Guillermo Stabile's mark in 1994; surpassed by Gabriel Batistuta in 1998)






1976 Argentinos Juniorsmarker Primera División 11 2 - - 11 2
1977 49 19 - - 49 19
1978 35 25 - - 35 25
1979 27 26 - - 27 26
1980 45 43 - - 45 43
1981 Boca Juniors Primera División 40 28 - - 40 28

1982–83 Barcelona La Liga 20 11 5 3 4 5 29 19
1983–84 16 11 4 1 3 3 23 15

1984–85 Napoli Serie A 30 14 6 3 - 36 17
1985–86 29 11 2 2 - 31 13
1986–87 29 10 10 7 2 0 41 17
1987–88 28 15 9 6 2 0 39 21
1988–89 26 9 12 7 12 3 50 19
1989–90 28 16 3 2 5 0 36 18
1990–91 18 6 3 2 4 2 25 10

1992–93 Sevilla La Liga 26 5 3 3 - 29 8

1993–94 Newell's Old Boys Primera División 7 0 - - 7 0
1995–96 Boca Juniors Primera División 11 3 - - 11 3
1996–97 13 2 - - 13 2
1997–98 6 2 - - 6 2
G W L D Win %
Mandiyú de Corrientes
12 1 6 5
Racing Club de Avellanedamarker
11 2 6 3
November 2008
14 9 5 0



  • Golden Ball for Best Player of the FIFA U-20 World Cup: 1979
  • Argentine league Top Scorer: 1979, 1980, 1981
  • Argentine Football Writers' Footballer of the Year: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1986
  • South American Footballer of the Year (El Mundo, Caracas):1979, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1992
  • Italian Guerin d'Oro: 1985
  • Argentine Sports Writers' Sportsman of the Year: 1986
  • Golden Ball for Best Player of the FIFA World Cup: 1986
  • Best Footballer in the World Onze d'Or: 1986, 1987
  • World Player of the Year (World Soccer Magazine): 1986
  • Capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer): 1987-88
  • Golden Ball for services to football (France Football): 1996
  • Argentine Sports Writers' Sportsman of the Century: 1999
  • "FIFA best football player of the century", people's choice: 2000
  • "FIFA Goal of the Century" (1986 (2–1) v. England; second goal): 2002
  • Argentine Senate "Domingo Faustino Sarmiento" recognition for lifetime achievement: 2005

See also


External links

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